Sunday, November 25, 2012

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY GOSIA!!!!
You don't look a day over (insert appropriate number here).
Lots of love from your brother, Annemarie, Tom and Amelia.


Saturday, June 12, 2010

OUTBACK TRAVELS AND SOME......

As of 3 weeks ago I am a domestic manager.
That's right. Stay at home dad.
Snorkmaiden has gone back to work at the coal face and as we weren't able to get any childcare so I am at home hanging with the little feller.
Apart from looking after him and trying to finish off my folio for school, we have been busily fixing up our place to sell so we can buy something a little bigger for the future.

For my folio I had to shoot 2 sections: people based and and open theme.
For the 1st section I shot some friends and their family at home and the second was shot on our outback trip.
What a trip it was too!!! Travelling with a 9 month old and camping was an exercise in organisation, patience and luck. We got flooded in at one point on a cattle station in the Flinders Ranges after 85mm of rain fell from midnight till sun up causing the dry creek bed we drove up the day before into a 6 foot deep 100f foot wide white capped torrent that was threatening to flood our campsite.

All in all we had a great trip covering about 6000 km including a 4wd trek at Willow Springs which was 60 km and took 6 hours to complete, most of which Tom slept through.

Here is a small selection of pics from that trip that I submitted for my folio assignment:

















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Friday, March 19, 2010

4 YEARS ON.....

Been a while since any sort of posting on the blog.
I think that between having our son Tom around, working, being back at photography school, preparing us and the car for the outback trip in April and trying to maintain some semblence of a social life, the old blog has become somewhat neglected.
Like on a favourite toy that now sits in the corner abandoned. Its layer of dust gradually becoming thicker and thicker with each day, slowly covering a distant memory until only its vague outline betrays its existence and once past companionship.

Occasionally I have agonised over my lack of posting, only to have my attention violently tugged towards my son's newly discovered ability to babble, or some other thing that is happening in our lives.
Somehow the poor old blog just seemed to get put on the backburner every time.

Maybe it has served its purpose, whatever that was. Come to think of it, the purpose originally was to document our escapades on the motorcycles. Funny how it's changed over time eh?

A couple of days ago I was contemplating the 4 year anniversary of that crash on the 18th of March 2006, which turned my life inside out and upside down.
From being scraped off the bitumen by the paramedics, airflited to the trauma ward, the subsequent half a year of hospitalisation including being bedbound for two months, the relearning of how to walk, to the numerous surgeries right up until last October to finally being able to run again as of last Christmas.
I looked at how different my life is now. Married with a beautiful wife and child, studying photography, enjoying life in general.

With those thoughts running through my head I left work yesterday only to pull over about 200 metres up the road.
On the roundabout was a delivery truck. It was stopped in the middle of the roundabout and my initial thought was that it had either a mechanical failure of some sort or there had been a collision with another vehicle.
As I slowly drove around it I saw what the truck had collided with.

A motorcyclist was lying on the road in front/underneath it, his bike some distance back lying underneath the truck.
It must have just happened as there were two cars that had only just stopped and one woman was getting out of her car.
I pulled over and went to see the rider and was pleasantly surprised that he was conscious.
1/3rd of his back was a bright crimson due to the flanelette shirt having instantly parted company and his skin having been souvenired by the bitumen. Given a lot of his inappropriate clothing had torn away I was able to see some serious bruising around his right hip area as well.
I figured he had sustained some fairly heavy knocks and probably had some fractures and potentially some internal injuries. ( later confirmed by the paramedics as fractures in the clavicle, ribs and pelvis plus bruising, abrasions, cuts, possible internal, spine and neck injuries)

Someone had rung the ambulance and there was a man standing by so I asked him to wave the passing cars on so none would run into us while we attended to the rider.
My recently completed first aid course came into good use indeed and I began to implement what I had learnt.
Thankfully he could wriggle his toes and fingers and didn't seem to think he had much pain in his spine or neck.
I explained to him that he had injuries on his back and hip area and that I know exactly how he feels right now. I also told him he should have been wearing leather, to which he replied that it was too hot. Well, there's the trade off then isn't. Too hot but keep your skin on, versus nice and cool and no skin. Not much of a choice really I reckon.
He was lying in a kind of 45 degree angle and moving around a lot. I wanted him to roll onto his side, in case he decided to vomit into his helmet, but he found that way too painful and preferred to roll onto his back. As he did so he let out an anguished cry and I realised that he sustained some serious pelvic fractures, so I supported his right leg in the most comfortable position.
The woman who pulled up earlier was still there so I asked her to get his phone from the bag on his bike so we could call his family. I spoke to his sister and gave her directions on how to get to where we were.
From there on I just comforted him and kept talking to him until the paramdics arrived.
Once they started attending to his injuries I was left still holding his leg in position and helping the medics, talking to the rider, making sure he doesn't nod off from the morphine and eventually seeing him off as he was loaded onto the stretcher.

I said to the senior paramedic that it was 4 years ago that I was in the rider's position and that it was quite bizarre to now be on the other side and seeing it from such a different perspective.

What a strange way to mark the 4 year anniversary.



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Saturday, October 24, 2009

OF MASTITIS, COLDS, PILLS AND A LITTLE POO......

As if looking after a baby and a husband, who is laid up on the couch as he is not allowed to weight bear on one leg wasn't enough, poor old Snorkmaiden copped her first bout of mastitis.
Fever, flu like symptom accompanied by a sensation of needles flowing through her boobs when she's feeding were not much fun for anyone.
Added to that, she caught an actual cold.
Fortunately we were lucky enough to have mum and sis readily on hand to help out.
So for a while there, the entire family of three was on antibiotics.
There's nothing quite like spending your friday night, lying on the couch and popping pills with your girly.

Wednesday I had an appointment with the plastic surgoen and I was so relieved to have that damned half cast removed off my leg.
By that stage it was already starting to give me sore / pressure points.
Expecting to see a heap of staples holding my leg together, I was surprised to see steri strips ( like sterile sticky tape ) holding the incision closed.
Having prepared myself for the sometimes unpleasant act of staple removal, I now understood why she put a cast on and forbid me to use the leg at all.
Apart from 4 stitches, the skin was left to heal by itself, so any muscular movement from leg use could have potentially torn the skin apart.
After removing the strips and cutting the stitches, new strips were put in place and I was given permission to finally start putting weight on the leg. ( The following day I went for a walk to a mate's café and realised just how quickly the leg had become stiff and useless. )
The surgoen was pleased with the way it was looking, apart from a couple of oozy spots, which should clear up soon enough and I was a bit surprised to see that apart from having a reduced scar, I was now sporting a new incision at the back of the knee.
Basically, the doc had started at the left rear side of the right knee, cut down at 45 degrees towards the right side, then all the way down to the ankle.
The incision at the back of the knee was required to locate the motor control nerves in order to divide them.

Day 12 post op. and I'm still somewhat sore and restricted in movement, but at least I've been getting around without crutches, which is completely different to when my leg was operated on in the first instance back in 2006.
Looking at returning to work next Thursday.


On a completely separate issue, there is nothing quite like your son telling you he loves in his own little special way.
I was giving him a bath a couple of weeks ago.
In order to stop him performing an impersonation of the Titanic I was holding him up against the sloping part of the bath by cupping his bum.
Imagine my amusement when he decided he wanted to have a little bubble bath spa by making his own bubbles.
Then, imagine my abject horror as the water changed colour and little 'bits' started floating about.
With one swift motion he was hoisted up out of the now polluted bath and given a thorough spraying down with the hand held shower.
I'm sure he thought it was all very amusing.


And now, for your viewing pleasure:
Starring: The plastic surgeon with a support role from: my leg..........




The back of the knee. The nerves are the bits with blue tape around them.



Skin graft site reduction on the lower leg.




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Friday, October 16, 2009

OF COUCH AND CRUTCHES.........

Wow, talk about slack.
Over 3 months between posts, sheesh.
So here's a brief synopsis:

Young Thomas is going well. Doing all the things young babies should be doing.
Poo, wee, feed and sleep.

After the initial chaos of having a newborn to deal with, things settled down a bit.
Slowly a routine was established by the new mum, dad and baby.
With mum recovering from the C section we spent the next few weeks finding our feet and learning about the needs and wants of the new addition in our lives.
Pretty steep learning curve it was too, as all new parents will testify.

As mum was recovering from the surgery I was preparing for some more.
This time nothing related to the smash.
I needed 3 wisdom teeth removed and this was done towards the end of the 7 weeks I had off work. All went well with the surgery, but a few days later I got a dry socket infection which required another visit to the dental surgeon.
This time he flushed out a bunch of trapped food in the socket and caused me some of the most awesome pain I have come across.
Being no stranger to pain, this time I was literally speechless and semi rocking in the chair.
Took me about 10-15 min before I could hold a conversation again.
Given the complications, my return to work was delayed by a few more days.


Flushing out the infected socket......

So the weeks rolled on, with mum and bub at home and myself at work.

Whilst I was at home I managed to do a small commercial photography job for a plastics company.
It was certainly a good experience in regards to just how much people don't know what they want, or are unable to communicate it effectively. I learnt quickly that you almost have to be a mind reader, or at least be able to steer them in the right direction, in order to come up with the goods that they will be happy with.

I also managed to get a domain name and host for a future website, but still don't have a logo, so the design has kind of stalled at the moment.

The photography has taken a slight back seat at the moment as one of my main projects is to get the Subaru ready for the outback 3 week trip at Easter.
You may ask why do that now? Well, because by the time Christmas comes, then January, then back to school, then there is no time to get any of it done, so I'd rather get it out of the way now.
There's a bit to do. A cargo barrier was bought and needs to be installed, as we will have more gear in the car now + an extra passenger. A new roof rack / tray to take the tent and fuel cans, the holey exhaust was replaced with a better flowing system, a new carburettor going on, 2 inch body lift kit will be fitted, new rear shock absorbers and I have to make a spare wheel carrier to fit on the rear bumper as the off road spare will not fit into the normal spar tyre spot.
Still a few things left.


As I write this I am lying on the couch recovering from my latest bout with the scalpel.
Tuesday I arrived at the hospital for some plastic surgery on my leg and as I alighted from the car I managed to jam my little finger in the door. Blood was drawn and more pain. I looked at it as a warm up for post surgery.
Thankfully the 3 hour long operation went well and the surgeon managed to divide a motor control nerve to a muscle graft ( which will hopefully allow me to run ) and also take out a 2cm section of scar tissue/ skin graft going from knee to ankle.
I was able to go home after only one night in the hospital, with strict instruction not to put any weight on the right leg until I see the surgeon in one week.
She also mentioned that she may do one more operation to remove another section of scar tissue later on down the track.

For now, it's back to lying around on the couch until further notice.
Here, in no particular order, are some pics of our son Thomas Jakub, as taken by his new parents:




















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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

AND THEN THERE WERE THREE.......

It's been two weeks, but finally I have had a chance to download the photos off my camera and post on the blog.
After a 36hr labour, followed by a ceasarian section young Thomas made his grand entrance on the 1st of July 2009.
Snorkmaiden was just amazing to watch, putting in a monster effort only to be denied full dilation by 1cm in the end.
All ended well with both mum and bub a little sore but well.
Thomas suffered a bit of jaundice at the start and was placed in a baby solarium to get some extra vitamin D.
The delivery staff were absolutely fantastic, however the post delivery care was pretty bloody ordinary.
From conflicting opinions between medical staff to post operative mum and Thomas sharing a room with a methodone mum who was clearly not all there. ( can't believe it was her 5th child )
Fortunately mum and bub were relocated to a room of their own the next night, all three of us couldn't wait to get out of there and be home.
Once home we slowly started to find our feet and routines.
Thankfully we've had some good help from family members and it's all slowly moving forward.
Snorkmaiden and I appear to have lost our grasp of the english language as well as various other objects ( bub excluded of course ).
Tipping it's it sleep deprivation or something.
Anyway, that's enought for now.
Here are some shots of from the hospital:































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Sunday, June 28, 2009

OFFICIALLY OVERDUE BY ONE DAY........

About a week ago we were fortunate to have been graced by the presence of Maja and JJ who were over from the west coast on a little sojourn.
We joined them and my sister in a restaurant called The Hellenic Republic for dinner. It's literally just around the corner from the old Casa del Pollo Polvoriento and is owned by George Calombaris, one of the judges on the show MasterChef and owner of the fancy pants Press Club eatery and they serve the most delicious Greek tucker.
It was a top night with top company, top grub and top time with my only complaint being that it was all too short.


As of today we are officially overdue.
Baby Cashew was due yesterday and failed to front up.
We can only assume that it's a minor case of stage fright.
It's been a mixture of excitement, impatience, resignation, expectation and anxiety the last few weeks.
We have been trying various techniques and methods to trigger labour.
From authentic Indian curries to raspberry leaf teas and everything in between to no avail.
I have a bottle of red wine riding on it with my boss as to whether it will be a boy or girl. I reckon it will be a boy and he's convinced it'll be a little girl.
I don't really care either way as long as it is all healthy.


In one month I have an appointment with the burns / plastics unit at the hospital to see if we can carry out surgery to divide the motor control nerve to my muscle graft.
This will hopefully allow me to run again.
Having that ability was never as important before as it is now.
I feel that if our little one needs to be run down and caught in order to stop the kid from getting into trouble, I would like to be able to do that.

There have been many moments of uncertainty during my recovery from the motorbike crash.
Some filled with scepticism, others with optimism and others still, with a tinge of fear, especially some of the surgical procedures and prognoses.

This surgery I am hoping will be my last, both in terms of the last I have to go through and also the one to give me back that last bit of mobility I am missing.
The plate in my pelvis still gives me pain, discomfort and restricts my movement, but that one is staying put.
It was difficult and painful enough inserting it in the first place let alone having to go through the same ordeal to get it out.

Due to bubs coming into our lives and the surgery, I will be postponing photography school for six months as I believe it would just be an extra strain on my time and energy and I don't think I could devote as much effort to it as I would like.

Here then is my end of semester folio. I can't quite remember what the exact order was as that is in my visual diary, which is also submitted for marking, but you can get a bit of an idea anyway.































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