jmgoyder

wings and things

Bump on the head!

A few days ago, I bumped my head rather dramatically. I’d stooped to pick up some clothes from the bathroom floor and stood up suddenly, forgetting to avoid the corner of the towel cupboard which is positioned above the sink. SMASH!

The lump on my head was massive to begin with, literally the size of a goose egg, but it has now shrunk to the size of a golf ball. When I had my hair cut the other day, my hairdresser was extremely impressed. She showed me the lump in a mirror and  described the bruising around the lump in rather gruesome detail. Obviously, she had to be really careful attending to my hair.

Yesterday I must have been having one of those attention-seeking days because I kept getting the nursing staff to feel my lump. I did the same thing this morning and got the same ‘ooh-ahh!’ response from various staff which was, of course, very satisfying.

The only two people who were unfazed (and remarkably unsympathetic) were Ants and Ming.

Ming: Get over it, Mum; it’s just a bump on the head!

Anthony: You need to be careful, Jules, you’re not a spring chicken anymore.

Anyway, since bumping my head, I have been really slack with both the writing and the reading of blog posts. I have also become  quite slack with cooking, cleaning, gardening, anythinging, but have also become adept at sleeping and watching netflix. Having armed myself with a fitbit a couple of weeks ago (between the asthma and the head bumping) it has been a bit discouraging to find that I have only walked about eight kilometres in as many days.

Once the lump from the bump subsides, I hope to become a more active blogger again but, in the meantime, I have a bit of a headache.

 

 

 

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Dusk

I went outside specifically to take photos of the cheeky willy wagtails but of course they disappeared as soon as my clumsy presence was felt, so I just took photos of anything and everything. And they are not very good photos because, even though I have a camera or two, I am not a photographer.

So this is Blaze, son of Doc 3 (deceased):
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And this is Jack, the Irish terrier, who was gentle until Blaze taught him to hunt which is why we no longer have any poultry:
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Blue wren:
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Flame trees from dog yard with one of our many Christmas trees somehow flourishing in the heat:
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Blaze again:
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Feeding time – that’s Gutsy9 in foreground:
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The last figs:
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And, just a moment ago, Ming’s best friends about to take him out on the town:
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This afternoon I sat with Ants watching two episodes of our latest series, ‘Luther’ then came home around 5.30pm having told him, as usual, that I would be back later. I hate this lie but it works! When I leave Anthony in the late afternoon, or evening, and promise I will be back soon, I re-enter the reality of dusk on the farm, and a sense of peace. Of course I wonder if he will be okay as the carers put him to bed but, now that I am a staff member as well, I hear wonderful stories about his sometimes witty okayness with the way things are.

In the summer, dusk can be dusty here, but it is also rather beautiful in a dry way!

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The end of an era

Well today I said goodbye to the last of our geese, and the duck, Zaruma (pictured above). The first photos (below) are from 2011 when all except Godfrey were little. The latter photos show them all grown up. The reason? Too many casualties via foxes and the dogs who lately have been able to get out of their yard by hook or by crook and they attacked my beloved Zaruma the other day (that was my turning point).

So I was having to pen the birds 24/7 plus the dogs versus birds argument was becoming a regular source of conflict between Ming and me. So Ming advertised them on the internet and an animal loving couple came to pick them up at 1pm yesterday.

I was dreading it and didn’t even want to be here at the time but Ming was at work so I had to be. I didn’t want to see Woody, Seli, Ola, Diamond, Zaruma, and even grumpy old Godfrey, traumatised.

Well I needn’t have worried. Belinda and Tom arrived with a trailer and a few big cages, water containers, and when she saw my eyes fill, she gave me a big bear hug and told me to go inside while they caught “the gang”. So I did and wrote all their names on a piece of paper then made myself go back outside immediately to oversee things.

AMAZINGLY, Tom had simply gone up to Godfrey and picked him up, carried him to their station wagon and put him in a cage in the back without the slightest fuss from Godfrey! For those who don’t know, Godfrey is the gang boss and has been so protective of the others since they were little that he turned aggressive, and he BITES! But he didn’t even attempt to bite Tom.

Even though the rest are so tame I could easily have picked them up and put them in the other cage, I just couldn’t do it because I was so sad. So Belinda and Tom did it and talked softly to them to calm the more panicky ones (Woody – oh my poor heart!) and it only took around 10 minutes – smooth and gentle and I felt incredibly relieved!

Belinda and Tom live two hours away but they are better equipped, with huge yards for all of their poultry, big swimming ‘pools’ etc. so it’s wonderful to know they are going to a great place and will be there by now. We have exchanged email addresses so she can send me some reassuring photos, so I feel great about it all now.

But after they left, I cried like a baby. I will miss them and the amazing peace they brought me in the months before Anthony went into the nursing home.

      

Thank you, Belinda and Tom.
Goodbye, Gang.

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What a peculiar blog!

I have just looked back to discover that tomorrow will mark the third anniversary of this blog. The reason I was looking back was because I want to find, in amongst all of the bird stuff, everything I have written about Anthony and Parkinson’s disease and how he, Ming and I have coped. I thought it might be useful to compile these entries into one document and see if it works as a whole, maybe as a book. Apart from the wonder of all the friendships wrought via blogging, it has also been wonderful to find that I have a record of these past three years because I don’t think I would have remembered otherwise, except as a kind of blurry fog of joys and sorrows – mostly joys.

The birds, and the wings idea, have punctuated the last three years in real and metaphorical ways. Many have now been lost to fox attacks, I have given the emus away, and all three of the original caged birds have been set free. We now have a dozen peafowl, nine guinneafowl, five geese and one duck. The casualties have been heartbreaking and I have decided not to acquire any more due to their vulnerability to fox attacks. Gutsy9 is still thriving and one of the two peachicks hatched last year has survived and I think there will be more chicks soon. I have stopped interfering in the way natural selection works. All of the birds still take bread out of my hand and give me enormous joy (except Godfrey, the gander who likes to bite me!)

But everything changes and now that most of my daytime hours are spent in the nursing home, the birds and I don’t commune as much. Hence, when they hear my voice, they come running AT me with a mixture of love and greed (for wheat) that it is hilarious to watch. And even the birds who are gone continue to live on via Anthony’s hallucinations. Almost every day he points them out through his nursing home window. The outdoor tables and chairs become turkeys; the lawn is speckled with chooks and guinneafowl; and the flowerbeds are parrots. I can see them too.

It seems a rather peculiar blog in its higgledy-piggledyness and some of my entries make me cringe, but hopefully I will be able to draw out enough of the love story to compile a coherent record that might be helpful to others who live with Parkinson’s disease.

Here is a picture of the nearly grown up peachick, still very much attached to his mother (in foreground)!
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Blog blessings

I began blogging in November 2011, with no clear intention other than to write something every day, which I have for the most part. The subject matter meandered from birds to Anthony’s Parkinson’s disease, to Ming’s teenage-hood and scoliosis, to our personal struggles. I dabbled in novel and romance writing, briefly promoted my book about Alzheimer’s disease, attempted some poetry, began to write about Anthony’s and my love story, posted pictures, and generally wrote a whole lot of this-and-that.

In view of the miscellaneousness of my posts, I suppose “Wings and Things” isn’t a bad sort of blog title so I’m sticking with that because it allows me to meander in the usual way. This is obviously not good for the stats as themed blogs get more ‘hits’ but, despite wanting to make more people aware dementia sufferers should be treated with more respect, I don’t care any more about the stats.

One of the things that has astounded me about my blog journey so far has been the incredible friendships wrought (with people I may never meet in person), and the mutual support system enabled via WordPress. The blogs I subscribe to are an eclectic mix of bird, photography, illness, writing, grief, dementia and philosophical blogs (to name a few) and it is often very difficult to keep up. The good thing is that most bloggers understand this difficulty and don’t mind if you don’t read their every word/post – phew!

I would never go to a support group, I already have enough friends in my non-blog life, and I am not naturally gregarious, so I am rather astounded at how much I have come to depend on the bloggers with whom I have become close – an extraordinary community made up of some of the kindest people I have ever come across. I also enjoy offering my own friendship and support to these fellow bloggers and this has become a meaningful part of my life.

This blog has also connected me better to my already-there friends and family, sometimes disconcertingly. For example, I said to my friend the other day, “Guess what happened yesterday?” and she said, “I already know, Jules – I read your blog.”

Oh!

So, in the spirit of miscellaneous gratitude, here is Diamond, our shyest goose….

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…. saying thank you with me!

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Cooler weather, finally!

As you can see from the pictures below it has been very very dry here but finally today it rained properly. Ahhhh! The best thing about this for me is that my nearly healed pompholyx condition will hopefully not come back. It is definitely much better now that it isn’t so hot.

Pearl and Woodroffe searching futilely for insects in the dry grass:
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Michael Jackson wishing the pond were fuller:
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A forlorn parrot on a dead palm branch:
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Freckle and MJ waiting for rain (or bread!)
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One of our many crows in a dying wattle tree:
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I did a whole lot of reading today (once again) about pompholyx, and was alarmed at various people’s stories. Some people had suffered repeated outbreaks for over 20 years! One man had tried to kill himself. Another had had to quit his job because it entailed the handling of chemicals. One woman was unable to change her baby’s nappies due to the pain. I read story after story after story and it became very clear to me that there is very little known about the disease, there is apparently no cure, despite many remedies, and I have now compiled a list of vitamins and creams and potions that I will buy tomorrow. My dermatology appointment isn’t for another week and a half so in the meantime I have taken bits of advice from all I have read and will endeavor to avoid all of the possible triggers: water, soap, coffee, cleaning products, dairy, wheat, dust, tea, heat, stress, alcohol, wool, and anxiety.

I feel very positive – and cool – and a bit dirty!

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The wild birds!

We have a lot of crows, parrots, doves, magpies, willy wagtails, wrens, and other wild birds, who hang around a lot more then they used to here. This is obviously due to the overabundance of wheat (which is what I give all of the peafowl, guinnea fowl, and the gang).

This afternoon I decided to sit down and watch quietly as the wild birds fluttered and tiptoed into the tame birds’ little sanctuary. Tomorrow I plan to take better photos but here are a couple of Gutsy9 sharing a bowl of wheat with two crested pigeons.

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(I actually thought these guys were doves until I googled their description. I feel really knowledgeable now.)

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Go to bed!

They go to bed (in their yard) but then they come back out again, and they do it over an over again – argh! Ming was never this difficult when he was a baby – mmmm. The problem is that they hear my voice and assume I have bread or lettuce (which I don’t always have). Freckle, Misha and Michael Jackson seem to want to eat my feet off. Funny – yes, scary, yes! Okay, I am going out now to put them to bed and, if you never hear from me again, it will be due to a duck drama! Oh and now Baby Turkey is stuck on the wrong side of the fence – great!

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Duckling update

Well the three ducklings have grown so quickly that they are almost too big to squeeze through the fence of the yard I put the gang in at night. They free range with their ‘minders’ all day.

Here’s a picture of Seli and Godfrey guarding the Twins.

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And here’s one of Ola watching over a sleeping Michael Jackson (the dancing duckling).

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I took a whole lot of better photos of all of them but had to delete these because Ming’s smashed ute (truck) was in the background. The gang + ducklings tend to hang out underneath it because it is near the pond. We have covered the smashed-in front of the ute with a blanket so that visitors, especially family, won’t be upset if they see it. The rest of the ute looks normal, with the tray intact. I wish we could get rid of it but we are stuck with it in the back yard for now until we try again to claim some insurance. Every morning and every evening, when I let the gang out, or put them into the yard, I have to walk past the ute.

There is also a clear view of the ute from the kitchen window, a constant reminder of the accident and everything since. And when I frolic in the dirt, and offer prayers to the sky, and watch the pea-chicks climb the avocado tree, or cry until my body is cramped like a dead leaf, I am always right next to the ute.

Ming brought Ants home for the afternoon yesterday and I (rather dramatically) threw myself into his chest and soaked him with some of these endless, futile, enormous tears. He held me and said nice things to me and then asked me about the ducklings.

“When are we eating them?” he asked.

I stopped crying immediately. “What the hell are you talking about? We are not eating them, Ants!”

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The loveliness of dirt

The other evening, I was watching the ducklings and peachicks go to bed in their different ways and, because I keep forgetting to take a chair or stool to sit on next to the yards, I just sat down on the ground.

The clothes I had on were my ‘city’ clothes – I looked in my files for photos that would go with this post but couldn’t find any that were dirty enough!

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