Monday, October 29, 2012

A Great {Ocean} Weekend

Ah, it is so refreshing to go somewhere a little different once in a while, isn't it? I just had a whirlwind weekend away for work. And what an incredible weekend it was. I was given the opportunity to do part of the Great Ocean Walk. 

And can I say, if you ever get the chance ... JUMP AT IT! 

There was something so incredibly special about approaching the 12 Apostles on foot. It was extra rewarding.

The terrain was gorgeous,even in the bits where there were no ocean views (though we could hear the ocean from almost everywhere - adding to what was already an almost meditative experience).

We walked a couple of kilometres on sand, but that was about as hard as it got. Seriously enjoyable walking. Nothing too steep or tricky at all. 

This was one of our first sightings of the Apostles. Breathtaking. 

We encountered more sheep than people. 

Yep, that's right. Five million people a year visit the Great Ocean Road. 

Only about 10,000 people walk the Great Ocean Walk annually...

I think 'Australia's best kept secret' may be an understatement here. 
I hope I get the chance to do the full 7-day walk one day.

But until then I'll cherish the beautiful 'taster' I had of the walk. It was a mad trip - 5am start to fly to Melbourne, then a 3-hour drive to the coast and the reverse to get back to Sydney the next evening - but certainly worth it.
Definitely worth it. 

Monday, October 22, 2012


This poor, sad neglected space. I've not been able to face writing about what's been going on - until now. Right...

So ... we discovered Ewan had a cholesteatoma in his right ear. That's medi-talk for a dangerous cyst, growing inside his head. Short version: he had an external polyp removed. Diagnosis was that there was a bigger problem. So he had a far more involved operation that meant his ear was opened up, his (unsalvageable) eardrum removed altogether, along with some hearing bones and part of the skull that the cyst had also eroded (blasted thing).

From diagnosis to two operations later took no more than 6 weeks. It is amazing - I honestly had no idea it was even possible to graft a new eardrum. It is. They took a small piece of his own muscle and grafted it in place; it will hopefully grow over beautifully and act as a new tympanic membrane.

I've found this incident quite incredible on a couple of fronts. In the days after diagnosis I felt a very overwhelming sense of gratitude - for it having been picked up at all (though I wish it had been earlier) and for living in this country, in this time with breathtakingly wonderful medical care at our disposal. Left untreated, this condition is fatal.

But the biggest sensation has been the guilt, which I suspect will be with me for some years yet. Almost all parents would do anything to protect their children. That I somehow failed my son by not picking up this medical problem earlier on is not easy to digest. We're hopeful that after his last operation (next year) he'll get 80 per cent of the hearing in that ear back.

Just moments after waking from surgery...
Other stuff has been going on too. E lost his first tooth in September. It wasn't actually ready to come up, a kid at school punched it out. They were "playing karate" .... mmm-hmm.

The cat died. Well, actually we played God in that one. It was my best friend's cat and we took her when she moved to Finland earlier this year. T looooooooved that cat so much, but the cat (who was almost 14 at the time of her departure) had some serious kidney failure happening. Kinder to put her down...

So let's have some happy photos now!
Bits and bobs from the wonderful Reverse Garbage have been turned into E's 'hideout'.

T with a 'goodbye picture' that was placed on the cat's 'grave'...

Springtime planting...

She's got wheels...

Excess mandarins turned into iceblocks, bit of a hit...

And that's it for now. Less doom and gloom next time, hopefully...