Rory Gardiner's Webpage

13, Jun, 2010

Sunday 13th June 2010

We are all together in Taranaki, and slowly feeling our way along a new path.  Sean arrived on the 4th of June.  The moving truck containing the contents of our house beat him by two hours, so Nana and I had to help the men transfer everything into a storage unit on the outskirts of Inglewood.  Sean started in his new job as Pest Management Officer at Taranaki Regional Council in Stratford on Tuesday (8th).  On his first day he brought home a tie, a brief case, and a new cellphone!  He has spent the majority of his time on an induction programme, learning about the roles of the different departments of TRC.  It has all been new for him, and I think it will take time to adjust to being out of the field, unaccompanied by a gun, a dog and a knife belt.  I had to take him shopping for new clothes this weekend as he had very little to wear which matched the dress code. 

We are learning to fit into home life with Nana and Poppa Honnor, Uncle Guy, and on occasion cousins Sacha and Corbyn.  The house is full, often noisy, and alive with activity.  It has been colder and wetter than in the North, but Sam stubbornly refuses to wear long pants to school but has conceded a thermal singlet has its benefits.  We have been treated to some spectacular views of the mountain.  The snow was down to the ranges, and a real picture.  The All Blacks have been in town this week for the game against Ireland at Rugby Park last night.  They have won over the town with their friendly, relaxed attitude and have been seen out and about all week.  Uncle Guy has seen them almost every day as they have been practicing on the field outside the Sport Taranaki office.  We called in to a “Meet the All Blacks’ event at Rugby Park on Queens Birthday Monday.  Rory managed to get 11 signatures on his rugby ball, and his photo taken with Dan Carter (although Ritchie McCaw is his favourite).  Our stay at Nana and Poppas is going to be considerably shorter than our eight month stay with Grannie and Grandad Gardiner.  We have gone unconditional on the house at Ngahere Street in Inglewood.  We are planning to settle this Friday (18th), and move in on the 26th

Rory continues to be brave, patient and tolerant.  I think life buffets him about more than we realise a lot of the time.  The Neuro-Psychologist told me many parents, and children, grieve for the life which would have been, if cancer hadn’t appeared, because a lot is lost.  I don’t think this is something we have done.  We have adjusted and gotten on with living, but I can see some days with Rory he wishes he wasn’t so tired, could keep up with his peers in the school yard, didn’t have to take medicine, and didn’t look out of the ordinary.  The low dose of Tegretol twice per day seems to be enough to significantly reduce the number of attacks of PHN, but they still strike out of the blue and cause him considerable pain.  Rory has been allocated 20 hours of Teacher Aide support per week for school.  I am acting in this role until the end of term, and someone will take over in Term 3.  I will slowly phase myself out, although I will still support him for the estimated 5 hour per week shortfall.  This week he struggled to make it through a full day on Thursday and Friday.  He was tired and unable to concentrate on anything after lunch so I had to take him home.  Sam was not happy about having to leave school early.  I explained to him that once we live in Inglewood if Rory has to leave early he can stay on and I will return to pick him up when the bell rings.  Rory has started to make friends with a couple of boys in his class; Ethan and Liam.  I am pleased to see these fragile beginnings.  Rory gave a presentation to his class, and one of the other classes in the middle team, about his Beads of Courage this week.  He took them in to show the children, and there were many questions about what he had been through and the differences they had noticed i.e. his hair, hearing aids, scars, the bump which is the shunt, and what he can do/not do.  I am working on an Individual Education Plan for Rory which I hope to progress over the holidays with the help of Rory’s beloved previous teacher Miss Hallett, and his new teacher and the SENCO (Special Needs Co-ordinator).  Rory has visited the Opthalmologist (Eye Specialist) this week to check the vision in his right eye as it was threatened by the shingles.  At this stage everything looks ok, although the eyelid remains a little swollen and closed.  Hopefully it will improve with time.  We received a letter from the Halberg Trust on Friday saying they have approved our application to convert Rory’s mountain bike into a trike with three wheels (and retain the gears).  This will enable him to safely and competently ride again, and is valued at over $1,000.  We are very grateful for the support of the Halberg Trust.  We know how much Rory misses the sports he used to enjoy. 

There have been a number of highlights over the past 10 days.  The boys attended cousin Corbyn’s 6th birthday party, and visited cousins Logan and Mikayla under the mountain.  Logan has been in the wars.  His leg was broken in two places as a result of a tackle at rugby practice.  He is in a cast from thigh to ankle, has limited mobility, and has been in some pain.  We took up Rory’s large mountain buggy for him to ride in and save his mum’s (Wendy) back.  We called in to see Sandy at Hell’s Pizza, and met her husband Ian.  Sandy continues to fundraise for Rory and gave us a bag of coins to count and deposit into Rory’s account.  We went for a walk with Nana along the new extension to the coastal walkway.  It now runs a further 3km north to Bell Block.  A bridge resembling the bones of a whale’s spine has been placed over the Waiwhakaiho River which was previously uncrossable.  It is an impressive sight on the landscape.  The coastal walkway now runs 10km along the foreshore of New Plymouth.  Sean and the boys attended a ‘Dads and Lads’ breakfast hosted by the NZ Police at Inglewood Primary hall at 7.30am on Friday.  Over 300 full blooded blokes connected to Inglewood Primary attended for bacon, eggs and toast, a presentation, and a quiz.  The boys and I attended our first full school assembly this week.  They are held every two weeks, and run by a different class each time.  The children display their work and put on skits.  Everything was new to us; the karakia, waiata, awards and news. 

Sam seems to be adjusting to school at Inglewood Primary.  He is making new friends, and every lunch time can be found on the muddy soccer field kicking a ball around with a huge group of boys from the senior and intermediate teams.  We haven’t yet managed to get him into a soccer team on Saturday mornings, but we have made inquiries. I am now 12 weeks pregnant with a small tummy bulge which makes doing up the majority of my jeans, and trousers impossible or extremely uncomfortable.  I have enrolled with a new midwife, and on Wednesday we heard the baby’s heart beat for the first time and I had a battery of blood tests.  I am still tired, and suffering from morning sickness which renders me miserable from 5pm onwards most days.  Hopefully it will pass soon.