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Rory Gardiner's Webpage

12, Apr, 2010

Monday 12th April 2010


A rash appeared on my chest and tummy on Friday morning after a run.  At first I thought nothing of it.  But over the past three days it spread and worsened.  I have been pretty miserable, sore, and tired (I itch and scratch (or try not to) all night).  On Saturday morning I was paranoid it was measles.  There had been an outbreak in the Hokianga, where we had been, before we left.  Rory cannot risk contact with the measles as it could have serious consequences for him as he has no immunity.  I called into a chemist and the Pharmacist said it was an allergic reaction, and gave me some Chickweed gel to ease the itch.  I double checked with Uncle Jason (who is a respected Paediatric Nurse at Taranaki Base Hospital) and he said he was pretty sure it wasn’t either.  Yesterday morning when my skin was tender, red and very itchy I spoke to Jason again, and he said I should go to the Doctor.  This morning it was worse and I felt under the weather.  I had worked myself into a state by the time I got Rory and I to the Doctor at 8am.  The Doctor said it wasn’t the measles (which was a huge relief), but he couldn’t be 100% sure what it was.  One of the three options was scabies!  $74 and a bag of medication later we arrived home.  I was concerned I hadn’t had a definitive diagnosis which could have repercussions for Rory, and myself.  There is a respected Dermatologist in New Plymouth, Dr Singh, who treated me when I was a teenager.  I phoned his practice and he slipped me in before lunch (I was very lucky).  It turns out I have a type or eczema (there are 14), and what I had been prescribed wouldn’t have resolved the condition.  In fact the scabies medication is ineffetive and burns your skin!  $110 later I arrived home with a course of steroids, and some cream.  It’s 6pm and I feel markedly better already (full of a days dose of steroids and antihistamines, a Pinetarsol bath, and lashings of cream).  It makes me mad because I had to pay twice to get a diagnosis, and purchased medication which wouldn’t have solved the condition, and some which would have made it much worse.  We are on a tight budget and it was like throwing money out the window. 

On Saturday morning I had a look around all my favourite places to (window) shop in New Plymouth; the Hospice shop, the car boot sale at the back of The Mill, the Kina shop, and the TART gallery.  After lunch the boys, Nana and I rode the Wind Wanderers on the Coastal walkway.  They are a buggy which seats four passengers and are propelled by pedal power.  Sam and I pedalled north to the Te Henui bridge, and Nana and I pedalled back to the Wind Wand.  The buggy proved a little tricky to steer as the walkway was full of people and the seaside boulders seemed deceptively close.  It was a thrill to cruise downhill but an effort to climb uphill as there were no gears.  After our ride we called in at the Govett Brewster Art Gallery where the boys were drawn by the Len Lye kinetic sculptures.  We joined Poppa at the New Plymouth Club for tea, and Jason, Wendy, Logan and Mikayla made a spontaneous decision to join us.  After dinner the boys played pool.  I asked to play and was ‘allowed’ to join Sam and Logan’s team.  While we got thrashed by Jason and Rory I was the only one on our team to sink any balls (3), after I had been bagged by Sam!  You can’t get through university without playing at least a few games of pool. 

Yesterday (Sunday) morning we drove out to the Meeting of the Waters to check out an open day held by the Hearing Dog Centre.  There are 50 dogs nationwide, and four in training.  The dogs were all breeds and wearing bright yellow jackets.  Their job is to alert their handler to; a knock at the door, door bell, telephone ringing, alarm clock and emergency sounds i.e. smoke alarm.  We continued the drive east to Lake Mangamahoe which holds the town supply for New Plymouth residents.  The lake was very low as it has been very dry.  We fed the ducks and swans off a jetty in the picnic area, and walked up to the southern lookout across two swing bridges.  The boys and I were taken with the blue dragonflies.  I had seen a brief note in the Taranaki Daily News informing the community of a planting session at Fitzroy Beach beside the Board riders club at 2pm.  I should have put two and two together and realised it was part of the TSB Women’s Surf Festival (national and international competition).  Shortly after we arrived the ASP Dream Team arrived, security guards, media and tv cameras in tow.  The Dream team are the best women surfers in the world from NZ, Australia, Sth Africa, America, Brazil, France.  They are competing in Taranaki for the top spot.  Most of them are blonde, and a fair few of them are gorgeous.  One of them planted in a mini skirt and ugg boots!  Sam, Rory and I found a spot on the dune, and set to work with trowels, fertiliser and Spinifex plants.  Jason, Wendy, Logan and Mikayla arrived, and Wendy and Logan joined us planting.  After an hour all the boys (and the surfer girls) had fallen by the wayside, only Supermum Wendy and I remained!  The cold drinks afterwards were gratefully consumed.  To finish off the afternoon we went for a walk out to Tapuae Beach, and Sam and Logan had a swim.  Rory and Poppa were shocked and amused by the local nudists beach combing and fishing. 

Today I have spent a fair amount of time going between Doctors and chemists.  The boys have had a quiet day at home (reading, building, drawing, playing the Playstation).  After all the action packed days they have had in the Naki staying at home is slow, boring, and doesn’t burn their energy.  I have packed our bags and cleaned the car inside and out.  This afternoon I caught up with my good friend, and website designer Mandy.  She is half way towards qualifying for the Commonwealth Games (Archery).  We are very proud of her (go Mands!).  She taught me how to upload photos onto Rory’s website, and we made a start on a new page on Rory’s website entitled “Kiwi kids brain tumour support”.  It’s an idea I have discussed with staff at the Child Cancer Foundation, an opportunity to give something back to the community, and a way to bring NZ families with children diagnosed with brain tumours together.  I am going to beaver away at it when I can .... watch this space.  At the end of the day the boys and I we went for a walk through the bush with Nana.  It was good to stretch our legs, breathe fresh air, and unwind.  We were followed half way by a tabby kitten with white socks which the boys thought was delightful.