Rory Gardiner's Webpage

13, Feb, 2012

February update

There was an article in the New Zealand Herald last week ‘Top five regrets of the dying’. It was about a book written by an Australian palliative nurse who had spent years counselling people in their dying days. Their most common wishes were:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

I have been thinking a lot about their words of wisdom, for Rory, for myself, and for those I love. Rory taught me about the value of life, and I want to make sure we don’t waste it.

How easily life can change hit home again during a recent scare with Sam. He hasn’t been himself for a couple of months with a lack of appetite, tummy pains, weight loss, fatigue, and frequent trips to the bathroom. The symptoms would last a few days then he would return to normal. I kept telling myself it was something minor, possibly even psychological, but last week blood tests results showed otherwise. We all went down like dominos with the tummy bug Rory brought back from Camp Quality, first Colt, then Sam, Sean, then me. Mike, Rory’s Companion, didn’t escape either. We all bounced back but Sam didn’t. I took him to the Doctor who referred him for a series of tests. Sam’s white blood count and neutrophils were severely low so the Paediatrician at Taranaki Base Hospital wanted to see him. Everything we went through with Rory came rushing back; the shock, the fear, the flight reaction. It was hard to keep a lid on the rising panic. All I could think was Sam had cancer. I know the odds are miniscule but it’s not impossible, and not unheard of. It was a tense and stressful couple of days while we waited for further results. It was a huge relief that all the other tests were clear, and Sam’s white blood count started to rise. However, we are still left with a mystery about the primary cause. The Doctors have told me to monitor Sam for a couple of months and record any further symptoms. So I am now on high alert for two children.

Sam and Rory started school on the 30th of January. It has taken us all a couple of weeks to get back into the school routine; organising stationary, kapa haka, swimming lessons, and Clever Kids tuition. Sam is spending another year in Room 13 with Miss Burleigh, and Rory is settling into Room 11 with his new teacher Mrs Simpson. He is lucky he has his two best friends, Alana and Ethan, in his class. He has a new Teacher Aide, Joy. I have been working with the school to update Rory’s Health Care Plan for 2012, and he has had an appointment with the Audiologist at the Hospital to make some new molds for his hearing aids as he has grown.

Colt is almost 14 months old. He still isn’t walking on his own although he gets around a lot of the house on foot holding onto things. He now has six teeth. I am continuing to breastfeed him first thing in the morning and before bed. I’ve put weaning in the too hard basket, for now. Colt is cheeky, and investigates everything, taking it apart and attempting to put it back together sometimes. He is thriving getting out and about with Sharon (Porse Educator) to music, playgroup and play gym, and is enjoying the company of children Deeanne, Sophie and Cayden. Colt and I are starting at the local Playcentre on a Monday session. I have increased my time at work to five days per fortnight during school hours. Yesterday I put my Taranaki Tree Trust hat on for the World Wetlands Day event at Lake Rotokare organised by a number of environmental organisations. Following brief presentations 80 members of the public went for a walk around the lake circuit accompanied by the staff. This was followed by a sausage sizzle and an opportunity to talk. I have been running as much as I can in the mornings and the boys have been accompanying me on their bikes. Last week Sean spent two days hunting feral goats at Pouiatoa for the Eastern Taranaki Environment Trust. He was in his element in the bush and managed to kill 34 goats.

We have continued with our adventures, repeating a couple of old favourites, the New Plymouth coastal walkway, and swimming in the river at Everett Park. Colt likes sitting in the course sand on the edge of the river throwing rocks into the water. Taking him in for a swim takes his breath away (it runs off the mountain). The highlight was taking Sam (and his friend Taylor) to the summit of Mt Taranaki for the first time. We left the North Egmont Visitor Centre on a slightly cloudy day at 6.30am. It took us four hours of climbing to reach the summit. Our progress up the scree slope was very slow due to a strong head wind. During the gusts we had to hang on to the nearest large boulder to prevent ourselves being blown back down the mountain. It was freezing in the crater, and disappointingly the wind was too strong for us to cross it (see the photo of the boys clinging to the side). Our descent was a lot quicker, and Sean and Taylor even tried scree running! We were very proud of the boys it was quite an achievement. We spent an enjoyable afternoon on the South Taranaki coast walking from Ohawe beach to Wainui beach (and back), a total of 10km, during a very low tide. Large rock pools were exposed for the boys to explore in, and Sean harvested some mussels. The beach is bordered by papa cliffs, and Rory and I were absorbed with finding fossils in the rocks. Ohawe beach is the site of the first maori settlement in Taranaki, and the first place moa bones were discovered in New Zealand.