Everything in the garden was perfect...

All we had worked so hard to achieve was complete...

We were totally content;

      happy family, great friends, comfortable lifestyle...

Hey! The future couldn't get any brighter...

2013

Definitely, a year to forget...

and, we thought it couldn't get any worse...

2014

What the hell!

Not, another bloody BIG brick wall...

Mary was always smiling...

February - Mary went back into hospital to have her knee manipulated.

Since then, with ongoing rehab and gym, she hasn't looked back. 

A 3.00am selfie: One unhappy chappy...

Then, it was my turn...

  • My increasingly-painful arthritis was impacting on many life-time routines with the consequence that I went in for a right hip-replacement the day after Mary returned home. The result was immediate; I was able to stand, sit, walk and sleep with minimum pain. Great! It was so successful that I booked to have the left hip done one month later.

  • Half-way through mysecond replacement I had a cardiac arrest due to a blood clot. I was rapidly sewn-up (with leg attached only by soft tissue).      

  • I required external cardiac massage (25 minutes) while being transferred to Geelong's University Hospital where my chest was opened and the clot removed. 

  • Next morning - a second cardiac arrest... I was on life-support for ten days. This wasn't so bad for me; being totally unaware of the situation and enjoying hallucinations (super-heros, interesting adventures and exotic scenes). But, for Mary it was truly horrendous.

  • It was a further very painful and frustrating two and a half months before I was strong enough to have the operation completed and three before I could return home.

  • Thanks Jo and Jenn for keeping everybody informed via Facebook and Caring Bridge.

Guess it could be

a lot worse

Getting better...

But, so ever-painfully slow...

2015

My program of rehab, including hydrotherapy, physiotherapy, psychotherapy (post-traumatic-stress syndrome for both Mary and I),

a strict medication regime (warfarin etc.) and gentle gym sessions, has continued through into this year.

 

I guess the biggest changes in my life have been attitudinal:

  • My family and friends are so much more important...

  • My memories are golden treasures...

  • Time seems unreal; day-to-day reality seems not so very different from the hallucinatory world I'd inhabited while on life-support...

  • I suddenly realised there were strict limits to what I could do, when and how...

  • My old goal-oriented life seemed so 'on-shaky-ground'...

  • I became very aware that my financial nest-egg was at risk (our large house made it necessary to employ a gardener and house-cleaner 2-3 hours each per fortnight)...

  • My shaky religious foundations were crumbling; I saw no white lights, heard no calming voice, nothing...

  • Death was now a very real, in-your-face reality...

My three guardian angels...

My darling wife, Mary, precious daughter, Jodie,

and beautiful step-daughter, Jen,

held my life in their hands for the ten days I was on life-support.

Hey! Every day is a bonus...

Now it's all one day at a time...

A 70th birthday to remember...

My attitude to life...

I am now more pragmatic,

          less goal-oriented and firmly-planted

                     in the real here-n-now world...

Since returning home...

  • I treasure my darling wife and my precious daughter as life's greatest gifts...

  • I savour the moment, all memory-making opportunities as well as the day-to-day trivialities...

  • I welcome opportunities to listen, heap praise on others and share in conversations...

  • I am treating myself to long-hankered-for toys...  

  • I take every opportunity to appreciate and 'spoil' my wife and children in the here-and-now...

  • I enjoy writing, movies, listening to music, indulging in hobbies (my photography and web-pages)...

  • I am happy to be diverted, to take longer over a task and to indulge in interesting distractions...

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©

John Flatt

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