Rory Gardiner's Webpage

19, Mar, 2010

Friday 19th March 2010


Being away from Rory on Wednesday made me very unsettled.  It was one year since he was diagnosed with cancer, and being at work in the morning was eerily like rewinding the clock one year.  On the 17th of March 2009 I went to work.  At morning tea Sean and Rory picked me up for Rory's CT scan at Whangarei Hospital.  A little over an hour later Sean and I were taken into a side room on the Children's Ward by a Doctor who told us he had a large brain tumour and would need to go to Starship immediately.  It was St Patricks Day.  I know there is some irony in the fact Rory's name is of Irish descent meaning "Red King", his favourite colour is green, and he was diagnosed with cancer on this date, but I struggle to find it.  On Wednesday I was emotional, almost like I was waiting to feel the axe fall again.  My instinct was to hold Rory tight.  I am trying to fight this instinct as much as I can during his recovery.  He is an 8 year old boy (or will be in a little over a week), he needs exert his independence, and be a cheeky, gross, confident rough and tumble lad.  It's a bit hard to do this with mum as his shadow. 

On Tuesday prior to lunch the children had a session of Bingo.  The teacher called out a maths equation i.e. 2+1 and if the children had the solution (3) on their sheet they got to cross it off.  It was too complicated for Rory.  There was too much information to process, and tasks to do, and he was soon lost.  Both Rory's teacher and I recognised this, and at lunch her head was already whirling with ways to solve it.  After lunch the children did hand writing which Rory is finding easier from a sheet.  Rory attended music for the first time in a couple of weeks.  He has been struggling with the recorder, and I had been meaning to ask the music teacher about an alternative instrument for him i.e. the glockenspiel but it had slipped off my radar.  Rory's teacher was one step ahead of me and had organised it, so he was able to participate fully.  It was pleasing to see.  Sam and I went out for a run/walk after school.  I enjoy these sessions with him.  We are able to get some fresh air, stretch our legs, and he can download what is bottled up inside him. 

Sean was on duty at school on Wednesday.  He was greeted by Trudi with some Scooby Doo birthday cake from Kody's birthday.  Mr Russeks dog Russ visited the class during the morning while they worked on written language, reading and maths.  At lunch time Rory and his friends played with Sam and his friends and the Skyball.  It ended up on the roof so Sean had to retrieve it with a broom.  After lunch Sean and Rory went for a swim in the Dargaville Pool.  I spent the day working at Whangarei District Council.  My good friend Dianne, who would have made a good secret agent, helped me sus out a present for Rory's birthday (thanks heaps Dianne). 

Yesterday (Thursday) Rory and I took the day off class to attend the Dargaville Primary swimming sports at the new town pool.  Only the seniors and competent year 8 swimmers were competing.  They walked up to the pool while Rory and I drove up in the car.  As we took our seat Mrs Wily (mother of our cat Sparky) gave us a programme for the day.  It was lovely to catch up with her during the lunch break.  It was wonderful seeing the faces of the response of the children after they won a race.  Their body language reflected their pride; shoulders back, heads high, smiling with bright eyes.  The spectators cheered the competitors on, and their houses (Whero, Kowhai, Kahurangi, Kakariki (Sam and Rory - green)).  Sam swam well against the other 10 year old boys.  He got 2nd in his heats for freestyle, back stroke and breast stroke.  In the finals he got 3rd for freestyle and backstroke and 4th for breast stroke.  The best 10 year old boy was his friend Hoani, and runner up was his friend Conor.  Both boys swam exceptionally well.  The best 8 year old boy was Rory's friend, and Conor's little brother Zac who is like a rocket in the water.  Sam's class (Room 6) won the senior class relay, and Whero won the house relay (Kakariki came second and Sam was in the team).  The children had a short free swim at the end of the day which they all enjoyed.  We got home half an hour early (at 4pm) which may not sound like much but made a big difference to our evening. 

Today the children started the day marking their spelling homework in pairs, Rory was with Liam.  They completed two worksheets on abbreviations and -ed, -ing.  Rory started off ok but here were too many questions for him to get through in too short a time frame, and it was complicated by verbal instruction.  He got confused, flustered and upset.  He started to pass on the answers when he could provide many to me verbally.  His difficulties match up with what has been identified in Dr Katherine's evaluation and is something Rory's teacher and I will have to address next term.  The children were quiet in concentration over a written language worksheet with a lolly theme.  I was astounded at the number of sweet treats they knew and liked as they brainstormed on the board with Miss Hallett.  After morning tea they watched a DVD with another class in Room 15, and sung waiata with Whaea Danielle in the hall (which is one of my favourite times of the week).  Waiata have soul and the children sing them with energy and enthusiasm (and volume).  I am learning a number of new waiata, and making sure I don't forget the ones I learnt from my good friend Heni during my time at DoC.