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...

And then, we hit a bloody BIG brick wall...

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...

But, why did it take this near-death experience for me to appreciate

the true importance of people, memories and relationships in my life?

Hey, honey!

Every day really is a bonus.

Happy chappies...

Happy chappies...

Ours was truly a fairy-tale romance...

Smile, Mary!

Smile, Mary!

Our every dream was coming true...

Over,over, over...

Over,over, over...

Wookey Builders were GREAT...

Come 5cm closer....

Come 5cm closer....

University Park estate as it was in 2003

Feeling great!

Feeling great!

What a great new adventure...

Gee, it's quiet!

Gee, it's quiet!

Before long houses were everywhere...

Nearly there...

Nearly there...

Mary and I did much of it ourselves...

Phew!

Phew!

We are so proud of our lovely home...

Laying the turf (200 square metres)

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©

John Flatt

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