Rory Gardiner's Webpage

17, Jan, 2010

Sunday 17th January 2010


It is quieter in the house tonight as I sit down at the table to let my fingers do the talking.  Sam is curled up on the couch with a large pile of comic books, the same comic books I read when I was his age.  Rory has his drawing set out on the floor and is concentrating on his latest art work, Nana and Poppa Honnor are out for a belated Christmas dinner with Committee members of the New Plymouth Club, Uncle Guy is out at a golf tournament, and Sacha and Corbyn have gone home to their mothers.  This contrasts with last night when there were eight of us home for dinner and to sleep the night. 

It has been a busy day.  I haven't got much in reserve tonight.  Sam and I went for a run/ride this morning 17km, across town, down the Te Henui walkway, along the coastal walkway and up through Taranaki Base Hospital.  There was time for a quick breakfast and shower before we headed down to East End beach for junior lifeguard training.  Uncle Guy takes Sacha (Nippers) and Corbyn (Nip Nips) regularly so this morning I took Sam along to try it.  He slotted in with the Rookies (10-11 years) who started on the grass with sprints, relays, and a tube rescue.  Rory and I watched.  A group of people were setting up their professional kites for a family event being put on this afternoon by New Plymouth District Council.  The kites were HUGE and bright and included; a panda, a gecko, a dragon, ladybirds, a pig, and a giants cudgel.  Late in the morning we made our way down onto the beach where Sam did wades and a mini-surf race.  Rory and I sat in the warm black sand and dug with the spades.  It was high tide so we only had a couple of metres of beach.  We were sheltered by the boulders so it was hot.  It has been blowing a strong noisy SE gale in New Plymouth for three days.  The wind has been almost unbelievable.  After lunch we went out with Nana and Poppa to Egmont Village and tackled the Maize Maze.  It is a giant maze made of maize and you have to negotiate your way through it while answering questions on a quiz sheet.  The answers are on posts hidden in the maze.  It is always dry and hot inside the maize.  Today the plants were only just over Rory's head, but in a months time they will be well over mine.  We also went strawberry picking at Bellblock.  It didn't take the boys or poppa long to fill their ice cream containers.  I indulged in one of my favourite foods, frozen yoghurt with crushed fruit.  I made an executive decision not to cook tonight so the boys and I had pizza for tea. 

Yesterday (Saturday) we had a morning at home.  Sam has been practising riding his caster board/Rip stick (which I can't even get going - it only has two wheels!), the boys played the playstation, Rory got out the army set and there was a war on the lounge floor, and we completed his ND therapy.  After lunch we went down to East End surf club, where Uncle Guy was on patrol, to say Hi.  Nana and I walked north along the beach to Fitzroy surf club where Poppa was officiating at a surf life saving carnival.  Uncle Guy gave the boys a ride along on the beach on the quad, and Rory drove.  We watched the last event of the carnival, beach relay, then went into the club house to watch prize giving and have a lemonade.  Sam was very impressed with how fit and muscley the male surf lifesavers were.  We walked back along the beach collecting treasures for Rory's science table.  I got Rory walking on his own with two sticks of driftwood.  The physio said Nordic-style walking is good for him.

On Friday we started the day with a physio session with Clare at Taranaki Base Hospital.  She has been really great with Rory.  Rory undertook a number of activities; propelling himself along with his arms on a scooter board, climbing a ladder, lying on a wedge/gym ball and shooting soccer goals (Sam participated), walking on a beam on the floor, and kneeling throwing bean bag animals at a bulls eye.  He loves the varied physical activities.  I spoke to the Respiratory Department at Starship and Rory is going to have a lung function test when we return at the end of the month because I am concerned about his shortness of breath.  After lunch we tackled his ND therapy.  He enjoyed throwing and catching the tennis ball with the Velcro paddles/mitts I got at the Warehouse.  We had a quiet afternoon at the movies watching Fantastic Mr Fox.  It was an enjoyable movie, different to many of the modern kids movies, the characters were models.  Mr Fox reminded me a little of Basil Brush (which shows my age!).  After the movies we went for a walk with Nana.  Sam wore himself out riding the Rip stik (you have to swivel your hips to move it, plus stay balanced), and Rory fell asleep in the buggy. 

On Thursday Sam and I extended our ride/run to take in the Huatoki walkway.  As I was walking Sam's bike down some steep stairs I almost stepped on a sparrow chick which was sitting on the track.  It was feathered but a couple of weeks away from fledging/flying.  It has obviously fallen out of the nest.  I couldn't see/hear the parents nearby so wrapped it in Sam's hanky (a clean one) and jogged home with it in my hand.  I also picked up a female kauri cone which I stuffed into Sam's pocket for Rory's science table.  When I got home I called Robert Webb at the Whangarei Bird Recovery Centre to get his advice about how to feed and care for the chick.  Rory was very surprised at what Sam and I brought him home that morning.  I like to bring Rory home a story, or a natural treasure/taonga, every time we go out as it makes up, in some small way, for him not being able to come with us.  It brings him a piece of our experience and makes him part of it.  Later in the morning we ducked into town to do a few jobs and when we got home the chick was dead.  I buried it in the garden without letting the boys see it.  In the afternoon I took the boys to Woodleigh Primary School.  It is my old school, and one they will attend if we stay, or end up back at Nana and Poppa's later in the year.  Sam was straight onto the playground equipment like a monkey.  Rory was hesitant, and wary of some structures, but gave others a go.  He climbed up ladders, walked across bridges and ropes holding on with his hands, had a swing, and climbed up the slides and slid down.  They have a high fast slide on the middle school playground.  Sam climbed in front of Rory, and I climbed behind him.  The top of the slide is four metres off the ground and when we were almost at the top and into the fort I looked down and felt a powerful fear grip me, the same as I felt in the canopy at Adventure Forest.  I found it hard to breathe and to move.  Running through my mind was Rory shouldn't be there, it's too risky, what if he falls, what if I can't save him.  The fear is almost over whelming and I struggle to control it.  This week I have heard from the therapists I need to let Rory go a little.  I should be encouraging him to do things for himself while remaining close in case something happens, rather than directly supporting him.  He is capable and will get stronger and more independent if only I can step away to empower him.  It I don't I will be enabling his disabilities.  It is so hard to do.