Patra's Other Place

I started out with Patra's Place, primarily dedicated to my linen collection and stitching projects. But I kept getting side-tracked, so I decided to create Patra's Other Place for anything not related to embroidery topics. So you now have a choice. If you are interested in me, read this. If you only want to see my linen and stitching, visit Patra's (original) Place! (Please note that by clicking on any of the photos, they will be enlarged to fill your computer screen.)

My Photo
Location: Melbourne, Vic., Australia

I am married to Ken. We have no children except a cat and a collection of Australian parrots, finches, canaries and a dozen hens.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Stupid cat.

Why do cats do this?  I put a bowl of water next to the gas heater, to add moisture to the air, as the gas heater makes the air very dry.  So what do the cats do?  Drink it.

 It's not like they don't already have fresh water every day in their own bowl in the kitchen.  They do drink from that too.  So what is the attraction to the other bowl? 
I had thought I might receive some sympathetic comments on my previous post about Ken, but it seems as though nobody apart from Sylvia and Connie are reading this blog now, or those that do aren't particularly interested in Ken, so I may as well stick to posting photos of the stupid cats.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Ken is home for now.

The lung specialist looking after Ken (Dr G.) allowed Ken to come home with me on Monday night.  He had CT scans done in the morning, which showed the reason why Ken hasn't been responding to all the various treatments.  His lungs have deteriorated and developed  Bullous emphysema.   I found this explanation on the internet:

Emphysema is a form of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD. Emphysema involves the air sacs of the lung. Without the ability to transfer oxygen, the air sacs become worn out and look like an overstretched balloon. In Bullous emphysema, the sacs become enlarged and can even rupture.

Dr G. said that the only treatment for the condition is lung surgery, but he will have to consult Ken's cardiologist before going down that path, as the risks for Ken are higher than most cases in view of his heart condition.
In the meantime, he said Ken can go back to work if he feels up to it, but the underlying message was that he would be better off retiring from work in the near future. 
Poor Ken is beating himself emotionally, cursing all those years of smoking.  What can you do?  I was accused of nagging every time I begged him to quit or at least cut down on the cigarettes, so in the end, I just shut my mouth, and tried to get as much fresh air as I could by keeping windows and doors open.
I've been mildly affected by passive smoking from both Ken and the boss in my last office job.  I don't have emphysema, but if Ken was still smoking, there was a chance of my developing COPD.  I'm very grateful that he quit 11 years ago, but he is now paying the price.  

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Hospital again for the MOTH.

I had a brief dose of influenza (aches, shivers, coughing, but no sore throat or runny nose), but after dosing myself up with garlic lemon and honey, I threw the virus off and started to feel better.  Ken had been feeling out of sorts before then but continued to go to work, and just as I was feeling okay, he got very sick.  He stayed home from work on Thursday and Friday two weeks ago, and I called our GP, who came out promptly as he always does for Ken.  He prescribed antibiotics, and told us to call him again the following week if Ken was no better.
The following Monday, Ken was worse, but when I called the clinic, the girls told me our GP had gone on holidays for six weeks.  ???  Oh well, anybody else will do I said.  No, was the reply - nobody else does home visits - bring Ken down to the clinic.  I couldn't, and I told them so, but to no avail - there were no doctors available for a home visit.  On the Tuesday I phoned Dr G. (Ken's lung specialist).  He said to keep on the antibiotics that Ken was on, and if there was no improvement by Thursday, to call him again.  Ken was even worse by then, so I called Dr.G, and he asked me to drive Ken to a small private hospital near us, where Dr G. is a consultant.   It took Ken nearly two hours to get out of bed, shave, get dressed, and down to my car.   When we got to the hospital, they had a room ready for Ken, and he was made comfortable to wait for Dr G, who arrived after an hour or so.  He examined Ken and said we did the right thing to call him, as the antibiotics he was on are not strong enough for pneumonia.  He put Ken on oxygen, a nebuliser, an intraveneous drip of antibiotics and other drugs, as well as prednisolone.  There has been some improvement, but Dr G. is keeping Ken in hospital until about Tuesday, as he isn't happy with the rate at which Ken's lungs are responding to treatment.
I do not regret for one minute taking Ken to a private hospital instead of a public hospital, even though I was warned that our medical insurance for basic hospital cover would not cover the private hospital fees.  The treatment at this hospital is fantastic; he has his own room with t.v., phone, excellent food etc. and constant attention from the nurses, as well as a daily visit from the specialist.  Ken has had a defibrillator implant, open heart surgery, stents, and other procedures in the past ten years, and because it was all done in public hospitals, we never had to pay a cent.  But it's caught up with us...four days in the private hospital has cost us two and a half thousand dollars.  OUCH.  Dr G. was horrified, and urged me to upgrade our health insurance cover, but even if we do, it won't take effect for 12 months.  Dr G. warned me that Ken's lungs are deteriorating, and he will most likely have these stays in hospital several times a year in future.
I haven't told Ken how much it is costing; he is stressed out enough as it is, without knowing the cost.  I told him it was about $1000 and he nearly had a fit at that figure!   So if anyone reading this knows Ken, please don't spill the beans!  I don't care how much it costs - I just want him to have the best treatment.  We aren't wealthy by any means, and $2500 is a lot of money, but it just means our credit card will take a bit longer to pay off than usual.  Ken might have to quit work some time soon, and that will make a difference to our lives too, but we'll cope.  People do cope, and many are a lot poorer than us.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Some photos to tease Isabelle in Scotland.

Isabelle has more important things on her mind at the moment, but I can't help thinking of her everytime the geraniums in our garden get to this stage. I often have a chuckle when I read the blogs of people in the U.K., who strive diligently to grow geraniums in pots....We have to dig these darn things out every year, and the following year, they are right back again!

Can you guess what the photo below is?  Hint:  no, we have not been invaded by miniature Martian spaceships.   Go to my bird block to find out more.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Daffodils among the weeds.

On a typical (cold and wet) day in Melbourne, I took my camera out into our back yard to photograph all the plants that are flowering at the moment - and there are a surprising amount of them.  It probably wasn't a good idea to be outside in such weather when I'm still recovering from the flu or whatever it was, but I hate being cooped up indoors for too long, so I took the risk.
Ken hasn't felt strong enough to mow the lawns or weed the gardens for a while, so after all the rain we've had, there are plenty of weeds. But among them in that garden bed are a host of daffodils, not all golden, and a bit the worse for wear after days on end of wind and rain (not to mention a naughty little cat that loves to pounce on them just to see them bounce back up again).

And the first Hyacinth peeping through.

Some pretty native shrubs...I'm hopeless at remembering the names of these, but hey, does it really matter?
 This one is Jobinia firebell or something.

 Now these two I do know - above is Grevillea Peaches & Cream
and below is Grevillea Firecracker  (I think - correct me if you know I've got them wrong!)
 This wattle (Acacia) tree is next door to us. 
 Close up of the flower.
 And below our beautiful Australian floral emblem The Golden Wattle, is just coming into flower in our back yard.

Topsy was inside keeping warm and dry, but Tiger wanted to be outside with me, investigating whatever it is that cats find so fascinating on the ground.

 Roger and Ralph (the roosters) were happy with their hens and so was I, as they had just laid two eggs.
 Then it started to rain again.   Guess who got inside first?
 And stood by the fridge asking if there is anything to eat.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

From Go to Woe

This time last week I was buzzing with life.  Then, on Monday night it all crashed.  Tight chest, a few aches and shivers.  Welcome the flu.  I can throw off a cold within a day or so with the help of garlic and lemon juice.  But not the flu.  I literally dragged myself to the doctor on Tuesday morning, to be told I didn't have pneumonia, but there was some infection, so antibiotics are called for.  Then he added "Buy some cold and flu tablets at the chemist as well".  I have NEVER had a doctor tell me that before!  But I did as he said, and I don't know if they have helped or not.  Two sleepless nights in the spare room (to avoid infecting the MOTH as much as possible), coughing, retching.....aaaghh, you don't need to know the details.
I'll be back in a few days if I survive this.  First time I've had flu for about 20 years.  But I still won't get flu injections.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Too busy to post.

My life is overflowing at the moment.  Hmmm..that's not really the phrase I was looking for but it will have to do.  I'm getting everything ready for my first open-to-the-public display of my vintage linen collection at Bundoora Homestead later this month.  It has taken me ages to dig out all the linens with an Australian theme, and get them ready to show the exhibition co-ordinators, who came here today to have a look at them.
They were blown away when they saw the amount of items I had that relate to Australia's flora, fauna and historic events!   My next task is to write a few lines about each piece for them to type on cards and display with the items.  After that, everything will be washed and ironed....8 table cloths, 14 aprons, 30 or so doilies, 4 cushion covers, and a few other things - phew!
I'm also into the third week of a 10 week course of water colour painting, and after each lesson there is something to be practiced from what we were shown.  That also takes time.  Not to mention my patchwork and quilting efforts.  I completed three quilt tops in about three weeks, and sent them off to charity groups last week, so I'm having a rest from those for a while.
I try to make time to visit my friend Helen weekly, or take her out if the weather permits.  This week her hubby brought her and her sister to my house for afternoon tea, and we had such a lovely time.  Visiting Ken's Mum is also a priority, as  well as enjoying catching up with other friends for coffee, visiting craft shows and galleries...Life is good! 

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