Rory Gardiner's Webpage

01, Oct, 2009

Thursday 1st October 2009


Life has finally stopped spinning and it seems ironic it has occurred because Rory has returned to Starship.  When I look back over the last couple of weeks at what we have been through, and what we have achieved, I am amazed we got through it.  At times it has been overwhelming. 

Rory is back on Ward 27b in his old room (16).  He received super hydration last night (iv fluids at 110ml/hr) as well as his milkshake (80ml/hr) so was up to the bathroom every 1.5 hours during the night.   I had (almost) forgotten what a night of continuous get ups and nurse interruptions felt like.  His blood test results from last night were ok, but his haemoglobin has dropped this morning and is too low for chemo to start.  We are waiting to see the Doctors on rounds to find out what will occur.  It is likely he will need a blood transfusion before chemo can begin today.

Yesterday (Wednesday) was Grannie Gardiner's 60th birthday (Happy Birthday Grannie).  We were all glad to be at Whakapara to celebrate it with her.  We sang Happy Birthday and gave Grannie her pressies.  The boys had picked out a neat helium balloon to go with them, and Rory had made a card.  At morning tea we had a lime and lemon cheesecake/birthday cake with a musical candle.  Grannie spent the morning enjoying time with the boys.  Sean and I spent the morning rushing around sorting and packing gear and cleaning vehicles.  We were late getting away, and the drive to Auckland seemed to take forever.  There was plenty of road works, and plenty of traffic.  We called in to see John and Cathy Hawley before we got to the hospital so Sean could drop off some materials.  Cathy had made us jam and jelly (thank you Cathy).  We finally arrived at Ronald McDonald House to find out where our home will be until Christmas.  RM House has leased the 9th and 10th floors of the Waldorf Apartment complex on St Martins Lane, across the Grafton Bridge.  We asked to be put on the waiting list for an apartment and were fortunate enough to be allocated one.  We are in 10H.  The apartment has two bedrooms and is fully furnished, with a lounge/dining area, kitchenette, and bathroom.  It is wonderful to have the space, and a mini home away from home.  I was a little worried how the four of us would get on in a single room for 10 weeks.  After dumping all the gear at the apartment we raced back to Starship for a clinic appointment with Dr Stephen.  Rory's weight has remained stable (23.3kg), and everything seemed to be ok for chemo to start.  We had a long discussion with Dr Stephen about the long term deficits Rory will have as a result of his treatments, and how these are managed.  As we get closer to the end of his treatments we are starting to think about his future.  There were two parcels waiting for Rory at RM House; a neat puzzle book from Room 4 at Dargaville Primary, and Mario Kart, a Nintendo game from the Schofields in New Plymouth (my good friend Janine, Michael, Brianna and Kenzie).  Rory was delighted.  After seeing Dr Stephen we raced back to the apartment to unpack, and repack for the ward, then found ourselves on Queen Street looking for some dinner.  Auckland is an assault on the senses, the noise, the smells, the number of buildings, people and vehicles.  We feel like small foreign fish in a large crowded aquarium.  We returned to Ward 27b around 7.30pm but there was no bed ready for Rory so the boys played skittles and ball games in the corridor while we waited.  The Nurses organised a clean room and Rory was in bed at 8.15pm.  It took a while for him to wind down and he was asleep at 8.30pm.  I spent the next hour or so setting up his room and organising his milkshake. 

On Tuesday it was my birthday.  Just for the record I am still a few years off 40.  I was spoilt by those nearest and dearest to me.  Thank you for the emails, txts, phone calls and pressies; Sean and the boys, Mum and Dad, Uncle Guy, Grannie and Grandad Gardiner, Tim, Dianne, Trudi and Katherine, Tracey Neuman, Mands, Cindy, Heni, and Jane.  Sean bought me a lovely pendant which we helped design with a talented artist, Jean Burgers, from Nelson.  You can see it in a photo in the gallery.  It shows Mt Taranaki, under a starry sky, side fronds representing the bush, the ocean, and two koruson the bottom for my sons, one for Sam and one for Rory.  You can see Jean's work at .  Even though the weather was dubious the boys and I headed north along the coast to Taupiri Bay.  We all went off in different directions when we got to the beach; Sean to look for food, Sam to explore the rock pools, and Rory and I to look for treasures on the beach.  Rory collected a small bag of glass, and I found some paua and kina shells, and a few lovely twists from the core of other types of shells.  We continued north to Russell and had fish and chips for lunch at the Whale Spit.  We crossed from Russell to Opua on the car ferry and called in to see my Uncle Harry and Pat in Paihia.  Uncle Harry had his artificial hip replaced last week.  The Doctor gave him his old hip in a bag, and he freaked the boys out with it.  It was a metal ball and socket joint and the top of the socket was pitted with bone still joined onto it.  It was amazingly heavy.  Uncle Harry had used it for 23 years.  On the way south we called into the Kawakawa bakery to buy their famous donuts for afternoon tea for the boys and Grannie and Grandad.  Sean and I dropped the boys at Whakapara and called in to Whangarei District Council so I could collect some things.  My good friend Dianne looked at my laptop which was misbehaving, apparently due to a virus.  Thankfully Dianne worked her magic.  Grannie Gardiner and Sean made a lovely dinner for me to finish the day.