Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Attacks and Addiction

When Nelson was a young dog I did what every good owner should do. I took him out on walks and tried to socialise him around other dogs. Unfortunately all dog-owners aren't diligent about doing the same and on two occasions we were attacked while Nelson was on the lead by less-than-friendly dogs (ie vicious mongrels) . This made Nelson very wary of other dogs while he was being walked and as a consequence we would generally avoid any canine contact.

I don't want this to happen to Toby. I want him to be one of those lovely, friendly dogs who you can trust while you're out on a meet and greet. And so I've been taking him for little walks and whenever we meet other dogs I ask their owners if they're friendly and can Toby say hello. Nine times out of ten it's been good so far.

But on Monday our luck ran out. We were walking in our usual area and came across two dogs who were off-leash and their owner who was on a motorised wheelchair. I asked her if they would be okay to say hello to and she said yes. And that's when her dog attacked Toby. He rushed at Toby, teeth bared, hackles up and barking viciously. Toby's reaction was almost one of amusement. He's totally convinced that all the world loves him and if they don't yet, they will soon. Plus he's used to vicious teeth-bared, hackles-up play fights with Bubbles. And finally, being attacked by a 19 year old chihuahua is almost like being attacked by a pool-noodle-wielding centenarian with arthritis - where the attacker is more likely to be hurt than the attackee. Toby just wagged his tail and we walked off totally unfazed.


I had another successful run yesterday. There's nothing like a good run to give you a little boost of confidence leading into a race. It was speed session Tuesday. I'm still not doing the whole session and I'm certainly not doing what the rest of the squad is doing. I do a 3.7k loop around the uni and catch up with the squad about 20 mins into the session and then I do about 3 X 1k repeats with a standing recovery. It's a half-length speed session but I'm managing it most of the time without repercussions. 

What I'm finding is that my heart rate is staying nice and low for the first section where I run by myself - so much better than where it was even six weeks ago. And now the 1k reps are slowly getting quicker. They were quick enough yesterday that I had time to throw in a 600m rep at the end. And it's not just the reps that are improving - the standing recoveries are getting shorter. Woohoo!

And with the improvement in fitness has come an improvement in my mood. I read an article in the latest Runner's World about mood and exercise and what it told me is that I'm a junkie. I need my fix of endorphins on a regular basis. And I generally only get those endorphins when I'm running a bit harder. A lady I know swears she gets them from walking but I would go so far as to say that she's never actually had that endorphin rush if she thinks walking can give it to her. Sure, walking can lift your spirits but I've never finished a walk feeling euphoric. 

I don't know if it's good or bad to have to admit to being an addict. But I do know that if I'm going to be addicted to anything, at least this addiction is a pretty healthy one. I don't know of many others that make you age better, improve your cardio-respiratory system, keep your weight in a healthy range and ward off the myriad of weight-related chronic conditions, help with mental disorders, keep your brain firing strong as you age and slow down age-related muscle wasting. Yep, I'm almost proud to be a running addict.

So to all my fellow addicts - I wish you a good 'hit' today.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Weekend Recap

Tired today. My legs are a bit sore and tight and I feel like I could do with a nap BUT it's a different tired from how I've felt most of the year. It's a happy tired not a frustrated tired. And I'm happy because I had such a nice weekend.

It was our last Saturday long run before this weekend's Gold Coast marathon. And by long run I mean he shortest long run that a lot of the squad have done in months. There are about half a dozen marathon virgins going to toe the line on Sunday and I'm so excited to be there to cheer them on. We're going to be THE best dressed squad on the course wearing these -

I've come to terms with what will be my slowest ever Gold Coast 10k. I'm looking at it as a value-for-money run and I'm hoping to go sub-60 mins mostly because that's the corral that I've nominated for and I don't want to make a liar of myself.

So Saturday's long run was a 12k - which I managed in sub-6min pace. Looking good to beat my goal! It was followed by a squad breakfast. Lots of coffee, food and talking (because 12k isn't quite long enough to get around to talk to everyone)

I pulled up well from the run, so well that I could repeat it on Sunday morning - well, 10k of it at a nice leisurely pace. I got home feeling amazing - I'd been really successful in my goal for the run, keeping my heart rate as low as possible (which is still pretty high for the rest of the population but all things are relative). 

Then Sunday afternoon, after a lazy day at the movies (Snow White and the Huntsman) followed by hours of reading (Andrea, I'm really enjoying the JoJo Moyes book - totally sucked into it) I headed out once again with Toby. We did a 3k training session of puppy fartlek. This involves walking, stopping and sniffing at interesting smells, trotting then all out sprinting (usually unsuccessfully chasing a bird). The intervals are done in a random order and differ in length according to the whims of the puppy. It's so much fun!


Sam, my eldest, left on Sunday for a week down in the Blue Mountains (west of Sydney) with his girlfriend. His relationship with Hannah has almost had a Romeo and Juliet flavour. Hannah's parents don't approve of Sam because he is not going to be a doctor - preferable a medical specialist. It doesn't matter that he's a lovely person who's on his way to having a second degree as an allied health profession. And it doesn't matter that Sam and Hannah adore each other. The only thing, apparently, that matters in their choice of life partner for their daughter is his profession. 

So to keep the peace, Hannah has kept the relationship quiet and because she's moved to Sydney (to study medicine) they can have some lovely holidays together when their holidays coincide. 

He texted me yesterday to tell me what a lovely day he'd had and then asked him if we'd missed him. He'd been gone all of 10 hours and, frankly, that's not really enough time for me to miss someone who's out of the house longer than that every day. But I didn't want to let him down so I told him that we'd missed him so much that we'd built a little shrine to him and would light a candle and sacrifice a block of chocolate to him every day. (Yeah, the chocolate was my idea but I've got a race this weekend and surely I can justify it in the name of carb-loading). I don't think he believed me and demanded photographic evidence ...

Voila - my hastily-erected shrine. Complete with a photo that Iven said I would never put on my blog. Iven you were wrong!!


I had a funny telephone conversation with my Mum last week which reinforced the need to be clear when you're communicating. She rang me when I was browning some meat to put in the slow cooker. I left it on the stove but turned the stove down low. We chatted for a little while when she was interrupted by a visitor and she asked me to hold on. I said I'd go stir my meat but my intention was that I'd be back. Unfortunately intention isn't always conveyed by words.

I went and stirred my meat came back to the phone and waited and waited and waited. After about 10 minutes I got a text on my mobile - It's the grey bit down below.

And when I read it I had to wonder for a moment if she WAS getting over the hill - she'd forgotten about me! No - it was just a case of miscommunication. Mum can still flog me at Words With Friends so I think the downside of the hill is still a long way off.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Feeling Power-less

I'm going without electricity today. No, I haven't become a 'save the planet, peace-loving, flower-wearing hippy' (not that there's anything wrong with that if that's your passion in life). I quite like electricity in a controlled usable way, not a start-a-fire-in-a-computer-and-threaten-my-son's-life way. In fact, I've found out this week just how reliant I am on it.

Energex, our electricity provider, has decided to upgrade its services in our area so twice this week I've been shut down power-wise. I was a little bit excited when I saw the first notice. No power means no work. Yeah - I stupidly forgot the other side of the equation where no power means no computer, no baking, no cups of tea, no watching anything that you've recorded for an enforced lazy day like this. I couldn't even vacuum - do I hear scoffing laughter? Yeah, you're probably right. That would never be on my list of things to do on a day off.

Wednesday was the first power-free day. I was prepared. I'd breakfasted and turned off all the appropriate equipment by the allotted time. But I hadn't accounted for some things that I do every day - like drying my hair. The power was switched off just a minute and a quarter of the drying into making myself respectable for public viewing. There may have been a naughty word said at this point but I soon had myself under control and with a plan B.

There's a few advantages to living close to your parents and the use of their electricity in a dire emergency is one of them. I packed up my dryer, brush and hair spray, said goodbye to the dogs and trotted downstairs to the car only to realize that the garage door was also run on electricity. Doh!!

I managed to keep the naughty words reined in this time - probably because there was a strange man IN my garage. And this strange man was kind enough to open the door manually and let the crazy woman leave.

Today the power was still on when I left home so I kind of forgot that it was going to happen. Maybe that second letter we'd gotten was a mistake. I made all these plans about how I would fill the day (work's still slow) - including this little beauty that Coach Chris sent me.

Then I get home with bags of ingredients to find out I'm powerless again. At least, this time my hair looks good.

I'm seriously thinking of taking out my last batch of cupcakes to all the workmen outside as an unashamed bribe to get the work finished pronto. They're very special cupcakes made for a guest post on Running With Spatulas. I'm sure Ali won't mind you getting a sneak peak. If you're interested in making them, the post has all the details. And I'll let you know when it's up.

Chocolate Truffle Cupcakes

I'm typing this post on my phone using the Blogger ap for the first time (and only because I HAVE NO POWER - no, of course I'm not frustrated) so bear with me if the pics aren't in the right place.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Bad Dogs And Bad Photos

Toby's now at the age where he can go for walks. Just short walks, mind you. I had taken him on a couple in the first few weeks, but not being fully vaccinated meant that he couldn't meet other dogs and couldn't go to the parks where all the cool dogs hang. We had to stick to concrete paths in isolation.

It's been so much fun to now walk where other dogs have trod, to sniff their scents with wild abandon and to actually meet some of Toby's doggy cousins, to say nothing of the many females who just want to stop and pat him.

Yesterday we met a couple of lovely girls going for a power walk. I could see that they wanted a meet and greet before they'd even reached us. I've become quite good at lip-reading certain phrases like 'he's so cute' and 'I just want to give him a cuddle'. When they reached us I asked if they wanted a pat. Well of course they couldn't resist Toby's charms and he couldn't resist getting extremely excited. One of the girls squatted down to give him a cuddle and that's when I discovered that my little boy needed a bit more training in the proper way to greet a new friend. Toby decided that the best way to do it was to go straight for the crotch-sniff. She was so surprised that she ended up falling backwards on to her butt which gave Toby even more cause for excitement. Yes, he's made a new friend for life.


I'm finally living my childhood dream. I've been immortalised in print. No, not my words - my image. I've become a model. (Damn I should have warned you all to swallow any food that may be in your mouth in case paroxysms of laughter cause choking). I'm being used in Coach Chris's advertising leaflets. 

Photos still can take me by surprise. I was pretty chunky (fat) in my late teens and part of me still thinks a little this way. I must say running has done better things for my body than discus ever did. And I'm so glad I finally was brave enough to lose the perm.

Don't you just love the special polyester track suit? I was heading off with the state team for the national athletics championships and we HAD to wear it. No, I didn't keep it as a memento.

So here's a challenge - find the photo that defines the old you and then one of the you that you've become. I'm pretty proud of the changes I've made and I'm certain that the old me will never see the light of day again.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Running Ruminations and Pickled Porcine Parts

I chose not to run on Saturday. It's always a hard decision to make but I know it was the right one. I just can't mess around with my health and pushing it too hard now will have serious consequences. But boy it's hard to say no when your head's saying do it.

I've been thinking of all those ads and motivational sayings that urge us to be more than we think we can be - 'Just Do It', 'Life Without Limits', 'Be All That You Can Be'. I've always been inspired by these but lately I've been wondering what if this IS all I can be. If I 'just do it' will I end up sick and exhausted for months? Maybe my life does have limits. I'm not actually doing this in a negative way - more contemplative. And maybe it's okay to accept those limits without feeling like I've copped out. I don't have to run ultramarathons or even marathons to be a runner. I am a runner no matter if my weekly total is only small.

And it's not that I've given up hope that I'll recover and one day run strong and long again. There are still some running things that I'd love to do. I do think this latest set-back is only small and will take a week of being judicious to have me back on track again. I may have missed yesterday's run but I ran today - just 7k and very, very comfortably. I even walked up the big hill and I'm not ashamed. My aim was to keep my heart rate down and I succeeded.

I have my first race of this year coming up in two weeks. It's the Gold Coast 10k and I will run my slowest ever time but I will be proud that I've been able to finish it despite all that's happened this year. It may be a PW but it's not going to be quite as slow a PW as I was expecting so that's almost a PR isn't it?


Enough of the confused Sunday evening rambling - I have another Toby story to share. 

Toby is teething. He chews on everything but mostly sticks and bark from our garden. And he likes to chew those sticks and bark in our lounge room on the carpet. Talk about a mess. So yesterday I decided to give him a pig's ear instead. Mmmm pig's ear! He loves them like Homer loves doughnuts. He carried that pig's ear outside so proudly and spent ages gnawing away on it. 

Then he decided that is was warmer in the house so he carried it back into the lounge room and lay under my seat. If you've ever smelt one of those pig's ears you'll know just how nasty it smells - a little like a piggery on a hot summer's day (yes, I've been in one and know exactly how rank it smells). I could only stand it for five minutes before I was encouraging him outside again. And he was pretty obedient. He trotted outside again but this time he was only out there for a short while before he was back in - this time without his stinky treat.

Later that evening I sent both dogs out to go to the toilet before we shut up for the night. Toby did what he had to and then continued to sniff the ground, following some mystery scent. I thought he was finding a place to go #2 but no - he ended up at the old cubby house where he stuck his head in a hole in the wall, rummaged around for a while, then triumphantly pulled out his half-chewed pig's ear. He'd hidden it away for a midnight snack. Amazing how early those doggy instincts kick in.

And finally - Toby's latest trick. I must apologise for my lack of skills - who knew that the camera didn't just readjust when I turned it on it's side? Obviously not me. If anyone ends up with a neck spasm from watching it, Sam recommends two ibuprofen and a heat pack :)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Those Little Voices

I'll start with a little update on Toby's progress with his stair phobia. After basically being called a scaredy-cat in front of the entire world, he decided to conquer his fear. Or Sam decided to do it for him. I'm not exactly sure what he did but he's running up and down those stairs like they're nothing. This morning I came in through the downstairs door after my run and Toby didn't hesitate to race down and welcome me. He even grabbed the newspaper that I'd picked up and carried it up the stairs for me. How chivalrous! I'll be training him to bring up the groceries next - something that I've never managed to teach my adult kids.

And talking about running - it's been not so great for the last week and a bit. Actually since Josh had his accident I've struggled a little. I've only missed the one run - the day after the accident - because I wasn't fit to run after only 3 hours sleep. But Thursday's run left me exhausted with achy legs. Saturday's run was a little better thanks to some great company (thanks Coach Chris and the rest of the squad). Sunday's run was okay - but for the pace I was going, my heart rate was higher than I would have liked. I've done two runs this week and both have left me pretty tired ... and worried.

For today's run I'd decided to only go 7k because of Tuesday's run. I had a pretty bad night's sleep - nightmares about Josh being in danger, which woke me up and kept me awake for hours in the middle of the night. I almost canned the run but that nagging, insistent voice in my head finally got me up 15 minutes late and got me out the door. It kept telling me that I never regret a run.

When I started out I was still thinking '7k' - as well as 'keep it relaxed', 'forward lean', '12 cars in McDonalds already!', 'oops better stop before I get run over', 'white lycra is never a good choice', 'never trust a fart', 'how far to the next toilet?' and 'how did her boobs save her life?' - I still wonder about that one whenever I pass that bus stop.

My heart rate was actually pretty good for the first 6k and I was feeling pretty cocky when I got to the point where I could either go home or go on. So I chose to go on and do the 10k loop. And I finished the run okay but after I was pretty knackered.

So why do I do it? I know I'm a bit tired. I've had a stressful ten days. And I'm not bouncing back from me runs like I was before Josh's accident. My head knows all this but there's that little voice that I just can't seem to ignore. It was that voice that kept telling me on Tuesday night that I could go for a short run on Wednesday morning. Luckily I ignored it. It'll be that voice on Saturday that encourages me to go further rather than keep it short.

I think that the voice is talking a little louder at the moment because if I listen to common sense it means that I'm admitting something that I really don't want to. It means that even though I've come a REALLY long way since the beginning of the year, I still have a way to go. And it means that I still have to listen to my body.

So the rest of the day (once I'd done the grocery shopping) was all about me and recovering. I went back to the acupuncturist for another session and felt amazing when I left. I got home and made tonight's dinner (another chicken pie - but this time there was not a hint of purple to be seen). And then I took the phone off the hook, turned the TV on and just lounged around. Thank goodness work is quiet.

Tomorrow I will be totally sensible - sleep in past 5:30 and only do a little yoga and maybe a short walk with Toby. And then we'll see about Saturday's run - see if the sensible part of my brain can be heard over the reckless voice.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Two Dogs and a Set of Stairs

When we first got Toby he was afraid of the stairs. He was little and going up took such an effort. Going down was just plain scary. There was so much potential for a fall and pain. He's grown so much in the six weeks that we've had him and the stairs no longer hold any fear for him - all of the stairs except for the internal spiral staircase that goes down to Sam's bedroom.

There's just something about these stairs that terrify Toby. We've tried to convince him that he can manage them just as well as the other stairs in the house. But he will not budge. So I've made it a little project to get him confident with them.

We started just going up. I put him on the fourth top step and walk up. He cried and carried on but then he reluctantly followed. Over a couple of weeks I've taken him down further until he's fairly happy to walk up the whole flight.

But going down is a whole different story. I've tried calling him down. Getting Bubbles to demonstrate that going down can be safe. And I've tried placing dog food on each of the steps - Toby is such a greedy dog that I thought that was bound to work. It was a big fail - the only one who got any food was Bubbles.

The other day I had to throw away some left-overs to the chickens. (It was chicken soup and they LOVE it - especially the chunks of chicken. And I get a sick sense of satisfaction that I'm causing them to be cannibalistic) Toby just had to see what I was up to close up. He broke into the chicken pen and started scoffing the soup from the container. And I had  light-bulb moment. If I took the container and placed it on the third top step, my greedy puppy just wouldn't be able to resist.

He followed me back upstairs very enthusiastically. Watched me walk down the three stairs and put the container down. I called him down but he refused to come anywhere near the edge. He barked at me. He pranced up and down the hall. He went and got Bubbles and together they barked at me but there was no way he was going down those stairs.

I decided to leave it there and see if greed got the better of him and I went into the kitchen to bake. And totally forgot about it until I heard the bang, bang, bang of something falling down the stairs. Toby came racing in to get me - telling me in excited yips that something had happened.

Luke got to the stairs first and told me that the container was still on the third top step. So what had fallen down? Seems that Toby isn't the only greedy dog in the house. Bubbles was the thing that we'd heard banging down the stairs. No, she wasn't hurt - apart from her pride. And Toby's opinion that the stairs are dangerous have been totally justified. We've got buckleys of ever getting him down them now.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Returning To Normal

I think the insanity is starting to settle. I've finally wrapped my head around what still has to be done and we're down to going back to the GP early next week to remove stitches and staples then back to the hand surgeon for either a new cast OR an operation. He's left the decision to us. If Josh has the operation he probably will have full mobility but there is the chance of infection, fibrosis and more scarring. And he won't really start to recover until it's done. If he takes the more conservative route, he may lose about 5% of the joint mobility and there may be a chance of non-union because it's close to his previous plate. But this chance is low and the reduced mobility is really only an issue if he decides to take up the violin professionally or become a jeweller. And his healing has already started. Honestly, the conservative route seems more attractive.

He's doing really well, all things considered. He had a bit of a low day yesterday - boredom and frustration was biting. He's been here before with his hand last year but that was just one hand. Having both slightly incapacitated is a whole different ball game. Dressing is slow and tedious. Using the computer, slow and tedious. Eating and drinking, slow and tedious. Showering, impossible unless you have help. So you can understand why he's frustrated.

I've earned my 'Good Mummy' badge this week. You get that when you have to wash your 23 year old son for the first time in maybe 20 years. I'm actually not sure when I last bathed him but he's definitely grown a little since then. And helping him shave was a new experience. I'm eternally grateful that I didn't cut him - the boy's got enough little cuts.

But I did manage a MAJOR FAIL the day after the accident. Seriously!! Who would make spaghetti bolognaise for someone who has no good hands to wield cutlery? I only realised it was an incredibly stupid choice when I was dishing it out. So I channelled my 'good mummy' and cut it up into manageable bits that would sit nicely on a fork or spoon. And I left the knife and fork on that plate so I knew it was his. Unfortunately Iven thought I'd left it for him and he proceeded to eat it. So I had to rouse on him  and he cut up another of the dinner's that I'd dished out. (My family all eat at different hours depending on work shifts, soccer training and uni hours.)

Toby has been keeping everyone sane. How can you be sad, frustrated or lonely when you have a puppy around? His antics just make us laugh. He spent last night sitting on my lap on the couch (shh, don't tell Iven) sharing jellybeans. My justification was that he'd had a needle that day and everyone who has a needle should have at least one jellybean. And he'd been so incredibly brave about the needle that he deserved as many jellybeans as he wanted. He wanted the whole packet but there's just some colours that he doesn't like so he gave those ones to me. And luckily they just happened to be the colours that I like the best. What a team!

Thank you everyone for your care and concern over the past week. It means a lot!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Medical Maze

Well, I thought Monday night was disturbing but honestly as I've gone through this week I've found out that having to have anything done through our medical system is even more disturbing. Throw in insurance companies and what you get is something that's likely to bring a totally sane, fairly intelligent woman to her knees.

I know they have wedding planners to help you navigate your way to a beautiful day. I need a medical planner to guide me through this incredible maze.

When Josh was initially hurt he was taken to the emergency room at the Princess Alexandra hospital - a public hospital. He got really good treatment from friendly and competent staff. Because his hand is fractured he was booked in to an outpatient fracture clinic. But because he was injured at work he is covered by insurance and we heard from one of his bosses that he could see a private doctor. And that's when it started to get complicated.

We'd been contacted by the insurance company on Tuesday to tell us that we needed to see a GP to get a medical certificate and fill out some forms. They didn't tell us that Josh could be seen privately so we should also ask for a referral. So that meant a second visit to the GP to get the referral and find out that Josh had to have another x ray taken to show the specialist. Apparently the PA hospital won't send on the x rays. So then it's off to the radiographer and on the way Josh tells me that they may need to take off his half cast to get good images. And if they do we'll have to go back to the GP to have it removed. Luckily he didn't have to have it taken off but you can see my frustration.

Is it just me that thinks the system is incredibly inefficient. Why didn't the hospital report satisfy the needs of the insurance company? Why couldn't the x rays be sent to whom-ever you nominate to save you from being exposed to more radiation and to stop the system being clogged because they're doubling up on procedures? Why didn't the insurance company contact us directly to tell us about his claim being approved? That would have prevented the second GP visit. And why won't they talk to me directly because I'm the one organising it all? 

Frustrated? Just a little (she said in her most sarcastic tone).

The only two good things that happened in the medical realm today was the radiographer telling Josh that it probably wouldn't need surgery AND the hand surgeon managing to see us tomorrow. Best case  scenario is that by 1 pm tomorrow we'll know that he doesn't need any more titanium in his hand (although his newest hero is Wolverine and he seems to be trying desperately to emulate him).

I've actually been feeling mostly okay about this latest crisis. I'm trying to use Sam's advice and just float through it. It's only late at night that the 'what ifs' creep in. And I keep telling myself that I don't have to worry about stuff that didn't happen.

I've bought Josh a couple of little gifts because gifts always make you feel better don't they? The first was a packet of jelly beans. Needles = jellybeans in Josh's book starting from way back when he was five. And he had enough needles Monday night to warrant at least a packet (apart from those few red ones that I stole when he was out of the room. Don't judge - I was comfort eating). His other gift was a Superman t shirt to wear under his shirt whenever he goes to work. You never know when you're going to need to channel him.

And I've been incredibly grateful that work is ridiculously quiet. I've done zip this week. And I don't care - sometimes other things have to take preference.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Enough Dramas Already!

I'm really not sure how to start today's post so I'll start at the beginning.

The beginning was a bit after 7 last night. We'd eaten dinner and I'd changed into my pyjamas and was watching TV. My phone rang - it was Gillian, Josh's friend. She was frantic. She gave me a very rushed, shaky message about Josh bleeding and something about a fire. I tried to find out more details but all I really got was that he'd been at work and a fire had broken out and he was hurt. Gillian was waiting for an ambulance.

Iven and I jumped into the car with a first aid kit and headed off to his work. We were almost there when Gillian rang again to say they were just about to leave in the ambulance to the hospital so we told her we'd meet them there. But we were so close to his workplace that we detoured by there to have a look. There was smoke pouring out of the building and emergency workers everywhere.

The trip to the hospital involved a detour through McDonalds to use their facilities. Damn my nervous intestines. But eventually (after a few u-turns because we weren't sure where the hospital was) we arrived and managed to find a park right outside.

The receptionist told us that he was being assessed so we just had to wait. My parents turned up as well as two of Josh's wonderful friends. And together we waited and waited and waited.

His ambulance driver came out and gave us a brief over-view of what was happening. He'd been caught in his work area when a fire had broken out down the hall. The only exit from the room was close to the fire so Josh had had to break his way out of the room through toughened glass. He'd inhaled some of the smoke and they were concerned about his airways. He had lots of cuts and embedded glass - a really big one at the back of his head and all up his arms and his hands. And there was a chance that he'd fractured some of the bones in his hand.

A few hours after arriving we were finally allowed in to see him. His arms were a mess - covered in blood. The doctor told us that his face had been the same way but they'd cleaned him up. He was pale and a little shaky but he was really hungry and hunger's a good sign. We stayed with him - his parents, grandparents, Gillian, Pouria and Steve - while the doctor cleaned out the glass and stitched up the cuts. He was obviously in pain at times but he just grimaced and dealt with it. He's one tough boy.

 Comparing war wounds with his Grandpa while being stitched up.

They'd cut off his clothes leaving him only in his undies. And his choice for the day? The Superman undies of course. I couldn't have thought of a more appropriate pair.

He was wheeled off for an x-ray and we found out that he's fractured the same metacarpal that he broke last year. He may need more surgery.

 Josh's good hand 

 Three staples in the back of his head

We got home at about 2am after driving by Josh's workplace again to look at the damage. It was cordoned off with crime scene tape and two policemen were guarding it. And when we stopped to talk to them one of the policemen turned out to be our neighbour.

Today we went back out for Josh and Gillian to give their statements to the police and firemen. It looks like it was caused by an electrical fault in one of the director's offices. Half of the building will have to be demolished. We saw the glass that Josh had broken through, in daylight. It was a huge sheet of toughened glass and the firemen told Josh that the jagged bit at the top had fallen down during the night. He was so lucky that it hadn't come down when he was escaping.

 The fire brigade assessing the damage

The middle window is the one he broke through.

And I'm tired and shaky, emotional but incredibly grateful that it hadn't been any worse.It's hard to listen to your son tell you that he thought he was going to die. In future I won't be letting him out of the house without being totally covered in bubble wrap.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Only For the Foolhardy

Men have historically always been the adventurers. The explorers. The ones who've gone out to look for new lands and riches and power. It seems to be coded into their DNA to take risks for the sake of glory. Well it seems that one of my boys has that dare-all spirit and it wasn't the boy I was expecting it to be.

My first-born son Sam went to a friend's birthday party the other day. Sam is almost 25 so it wasn't a
McDonald's party. Or a bowling party. Or even a laser tag party. And he hasn't been to a fairies and superheroes party in years (and it's just as well because our Captain Planet outfit would be way too small). No, this party was definitely a more adult party but not in the way you're probably thinking. The birthday boy, Sam and a group of intrepid (some would say foolhardy) young men went for a drive out to Wellington Point to a little cafe to try a food challenge. And the reward was to have your name listed on a board for time immemorial.

The cafe is the 'Off The Wall Diner' which claims to have the world's hottest burger. Quite frankly, if I saw 'Megadeath Burger' written on a menu, it probably wouldn't be the first thing that I'd choose. It doesn't exactly scream PICK ME. And when you  are given a waver to sign that mentions death, that's probably a sign to give the burger a bit of a swerve. Advice from the waitress about buying wet wipes and refrigerating them to take to the toilet the next day would be another reason to dissuade me. And being forced to wear gloves to eat the burger - well, if your hands shouldn't touch it, why would you let it into your body??

Not everyone in the group participated. But the majority of them ordered these little beauties.

There were layers of chilli sauce, slices of chilli and lots of raw onion. Sam managed a third and wasn't the first to give up. Go Sammy! But only one boy out of the eleven managed to actually eat everything on his plate. He was shaking and sweating by the time he finished. And he had to keep the burger down for five full minutes before his feat was formally recognised. And as soon as that five minutes had elapsed he took off like a bat out of hell to the pub over the road to use their facilities. I can't imagine that it would have been any better coming up than it was going down.

Sam felt a bit crook when he came home. And today I noticed this on the top of the stairs so I'm wondering exactly how things panned out.

One thing's for sure - you'll never catch me eating one of them.