Wednesday, June 5, 2013


While I have stopped photographing professionally to concentrate on my new role as a full time carer / logistician, I have decided to spend my nights drinking and scanning old family negs. While I didn't take any of the pics, I really do appreciate learning more about them and myself. It's an interesting experience, although it does help you thinks perhaps more as they were than as you remember them being. I'm unsure of whether this is a good thing or not.

Mum, Portsea, 1992ish. Photographer unknown, possibly my father.  


A week ago today, mum was due to be discharged from the hospital. I jumped in the car and started driving there to pick her up when she called and said that they had booked an interpreter, who couldn't be there til 3. This was irregular, as the Royal Melbourne usually checks first to make sure patients have actually requested an interpreter.

I killed some time and met her there at 3. An oncologist, two nurses, interpreter, and an intern all filed into my mum's cubicle. The oncologist sat at the foot of my mums bed, and the nurse who had taken care of my mum's trial sat next to her. The interpreter stood in the corner.

The oncologist explained that she had bad news. In the month since mum had started the trial and had had her initial CT scans, 15 new tumours, the largest of which was 2.8 cms wide had developed in mum's brain. Two more had grown in her spine. The growth was aggressive, unexpected, and had explained all her symptoms. They explained that although a neurosurgeon would visit her later in the day, surgery was highly unlikely, and the next course of action would be to pull her off the trial and begin immediate radiotherapy to the brain.

Since then, mum has been discharged from the hospital. She has spent the last week at my aunt's house, where there is constantly someone home, and my aunt's can cook her something more agreeable to her palate. We have visited the bank to discuss taxes in transferring large sums of money. We have visited solicitors to revise and discuss her will. Today was spent at the radiotherapists completing another CT. Palliative care nurses have started visiting.

The day before mum was due home. They had changed her medication again, and wanted to see if steroids and an increase in pain killers would help. 

Despite constant care from dedicated nurses, mum was still exhausted and nauseous. 

Although I don't particularly care for the show, mum loves watching The Voice. During an ad break, she remembered to take her pain and anti nausea meds. 

Just after being told about the metastasis to her brain. 
My aunts were waiting for me to drop her off. After the doctors left the room, she called them to let them know what was happening and that she would be late. 

Over the fortnight that she was in hospital, I wanted nothing more than for her to return home. Sleeping in hospitals sucks, and all you can do is lie in bed or walk down hallways. Her being discharged was meant to be a happy occasion. 

Reflection after being discharged from hospital. 

Mum explaining to my aunt the situation.