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Rory Gardiner's Webpage

19, May, 2010

Wednesday 19th May 2010


Today is the boy’s final day at Dargaville Primary School.  I know they are both sad about it.  The last term and a half at DPS have made a huge difference to Sam and Rory.  They are a lot stronger, more confident, and comfortable than they were at the start of February.  It may have seemed crazy to commute over every day but it was the right decision for them. 

Our world was turned upside down on Monday night when Rory collapsed.  He was reaching for a book on the shelf in front of him when he ‘just fell down”.  None of us saw it happen.  We were in the lounge and he was in the bedroom.  Sam found him lying on the floor crying.  He was shocked, and had hit his head as he fell (he is unable to catch himself).  He said he didn’t know what happened, but it had never happened before.  Afterwards he was a little fuzzy, very tired, and had a fat heavy head.  We kept him awake for half an hour monitoring him and then put him to bed.  It has hard to stay calm and not rush him to the hospital straight away. 

Rory slept through the night and seemed to be fine yesterday (Tuesday) morning.  My first call of the day was to Dr Stephen at Starship Hospital.  My first question was could the cancer have returned and caused the collapse.  Dr Stephen said it was very unlikely given Rory had a clear MRI a month ago.  Then I asked if the shunt (which drains the fluid from his brain) could be failing (50% fail within two years).  In the absence of frontal headaches and vomiting, which indicate a build up of pressure, this is also unlikely.  Rory may have had a seizure, although these more commonly first occur after surgery.  It may have been due to problems with his hormonal function i.e. his adrenal gland.  In co-incidence Rory also has a red blistered patch of skin on his right temple.  I thought he may have caught chicken pox (which is going around school) but as far as I know he hasn’t had direct contact with anyone who has it.  I took him to Whangarei Hospital (yesterday) to be checked out.  He was seen in the Acute Assessment Unit of the Children’s Ward.  The Paediatrician couldn’t give me any answers about the collapse or the rash, although he didn’t think the rash was chicken pox (they took a swab).  I have emailed the Medullo group to see if any of the other children have experienced similar symptoms.  We hope this was a one off unexplained event, but we are keeping a close eye on Rory in case it is the first occurrence in a series.  Sam escaped the hospital by going to work with Sean for the day, hunting goats at Avoca Forest.  They thoroughly enjoyed their day together, and same came home with stories about their exploits. 

Sean and I were awake early this morning (3.45am).  Sean was heading up to Waima Forest with Grandad to do a job for DoC – aerial shooting of feral goats.  They are going to hunt Waima Forest and Maunganui Bluff from a helicopter.  It is dangerous work which requires specialist skills.  Sean and Grandad love it, and are expert at what they do.  I have faith in their team, which includes shooter Tim Reuben from Waimamaku, but I can’t help but feel anxious about their safety.  I went back to sleep after the men left and was late rising for school.  The boys and I managed to get all our preparation done but were late leaving, then hit red lights and slow vehicles the whole trip.  We arrived at school after the bell.  Even though I was driving like a demon on the way over I thought about our surroundings, totara and kahikatea trees, the Northern Wairoa river, the Tangihua Range, Tangiteroria school, and how I will miss it’s comforting Northland flavour.  We have many happy memories from our time in the kauri coast and on the Kaipara.  I had a visit this morning from my friend Heni.  It had been a long time since we last caught up (her life is even busier than mine!), and I was glad we could see each other and talk before I left.  Heni is a remarkable woman, my friend, my teacher, and a constant source of inspiration.  At morning tea Mrs Vallance and Sam’s class put on a yummy spread to say goodbye.  I joined them and enjoyed watching Sam with his friends.  Sam had made Mrs Vallance a card and chosen a small gift.  Unbeknownst to me Rory’s class was also having a morning tea for him!  Trudi appeared as I was helping clean up behind Sam’s class room and let me in on it.  I was a little bummed out I had missed it, but I was glad I was there for Sam.  Sam’s class had sat in a respect circle before morning tea and each person said something positive about Sam.  The comments covered his sporting ability, his sportsmanship, the way he helps others, his ability at maths, and the value of being his friend.  I was glad he was able to hear this from his peers.  I rushed around before lunch photocopying karakia and waiata from Whaea Danielle’s bulging folder.  I want the boys to keep on singing the songs they have learnt at Dargaville Primary, even though we will be without instrumental accompaniment and Whaea Danielle’s beautiful voice.  I brought a cheesecake to school for the staff to share over lunch and thank them for all they have done for us. 

Rory has his operation tomorrow morning at Whangarei Hospital.  He has phimosis so has to be circumcised.  They can’t give us a definite explanation as to why he has it but it may be linked to repeated catheterisation last year during surgery.  I know it is only a minor operation, and many boys have it done every year, but Rory is in a unique position which puts him at greater risk.  I know I will be very anxious in the morning, and will not be able to show it.