I’m alive

I could hardly take credit to finally waking up and discovering I survived the operation, as I’d been woken up about a hundred times during the course of the day. If it’s not the physio who wants me to give 3 almighty huffs followed by a cough, 2 laps down the hallway (it dawned on me why my mum called me turtle) … and then 3 deep breathes every hour … or the nurse who needed to refuel the drip … or the food delivery service guy … or the pair of nurses where one reads my wristlet band while the other hands me a dose of pills … I could possibly give sleeping a go. My son Ben, bless his heart texted me from downstairs to let me know that he had purchased a Cappuccino. Great, the very last thing I want right at this moment. So I chugged it down with appreciation. Thank you son. Later tonight the surgeon came in to evaluate my condition and suggested I could be home tomorrow. I just knew the extra lap would pay off, no pain no gain, yup that’s me. He also left me with a couple of Polaroid shots of my chest cavity, explaining in detail the story behind each picture. I accepted his version that the foaming gue was infection, but did he have to burst it while it was still inside me with his soldering iron. I was seriously wondering if that was an ‘oopsy’ moment. The white sausage like piece of meat is the Gall Bladder and apparently the shape and size of this one suggests it’s filled with explosive devices, so the surgeon is careful positioning it for the right camera shot. Immediately below it and surprisingly, that’s my liver, the surgeon said that it looks very healthy. I feel sad that the months of alcohol abstinance must have turned it into a monastery. Cheer up old fellow, I’ll have a glass of wine after this. I wanted to upload another groovy pic of the gall bladder oozing all of it’s bubbly goodness, but the family jeered and boo’ed at this proposal so I was left to battle my conscience. Do I upload it for the shock value or for educational purposes? I’ll sneak it onto the blog at a later time [insert evil laugh here].

Minus one gall bladder

Feeling really groggy, vision is a bit blurry (wait, that’s normal), throat parched, still hungry, feels like someone’s shot me 3 times in the gut … what am I doing on the Internet? Hospitals make you feel lonely, however the fast food service of morphine is exceptional. Would have been nice to wake up to a surprise party of Circus Clowns, balloons, animals and magic tricks. I’m a little disappointed. I’ve got serious tummy pains, and all I want are the Chocolate Lamingtons Lisa and Sarah brought in earlier tonight. Shall I risk it? Even decisions are difficult under anesthetic, … What I really need is either a coin or a dice right now. Weight Watchers would be happy with me, Google says the average gall bladder weighs 350 grams, and all I want is dessert to celebrate. Ok, let’s get real, I’m going to try and sleep now, yeah right, like that’s going to happen. At least the TV is going to be my companion tonight, channel surfing here I come. Good night all.

Handle me with Care and Caution

Just a couple of tips on how to interact with someone like me. I do feel obliged to spell this out so people can stop freaking me out. I’m not trying to be cavalier about this, nor do I wish to offend, but I am working on an alternative secret Colonel Sanders recipe to get myself out of this bind. Unfortunately, this plan is very fragile and can all come to nought at the slightest suggestion of failure or negativity, even when naively offered. 1. I have cancer, not the common cold. Please stop telling me it’s going to be alright unless you know the definitive cure for Cancer. The doctors tell me that the disease reacts differently for everyone. I could be a nifty bag of garden fertiliser within 12 months, or I could be writing a book about how I beat this, fathered 10 more children, won the lottery and how I now appreciate cigars and pedicures. 2. True, I won’t have further use for my wardrobe and that this space will be available sometime in the future, but you will have to search and bid for this piece of real estate on eBay like everyone else. 3. Be prepared for a paternity test, if you’re hoping to turn up for a cut of the Insurance handout. You should know that Brad is not the sharing kind and is currently learning Brazilian Ju Jitsu, and I think he knows how to dish out guillotine choker holds now. 4. Any funeral directors touting for business will need to have a qualified dog handler with them. My dog ‘Dawgie’ has a bite worse than his bark. I am however interested in genuine, no corners cut, Viking Burning Ship Burials’ at Sea, quotes. 5. I AM trying to be positive, and it’s bloody hard when everyone keeps reminding me to remain positive. What I really need is an introductory course in Shaolin Monkism Meditation 101 (in 5 easy steps). If anyone knows where I can pick up the tapes for this, please let me know. I can pick up or arrange delivery at my expense. If it’s a book, make sure it has lots of pictures, preferably cartoons … my attention span is almost non-existent and I’m easily entertained. If the CD has music, ideally monkeys should be able to dance to it. 6. If you really want to cheer me up, I enjoy Chicken Laksa, Mud Crab, Crayfish, Pineapple Lumps, Tamarillos and Coffee from Bonjour Patisserie (Wahroonga). 7. If you think you’re beautiful then a hug would be warmly and immensely appreciated. Groping encouraged but not advised. Talk to you all again, laters alligators!

Laho is not a good word.

My youngest daughter dabbled with the Hawaiian language while we were away, with the words used most being ‘greetings’ and ‘thank you’, respectively, ‘aloha’ and ‘mahalo’. In her bid to display this newly acquired knowledge, she would often say ‘ma laho’. The word ‘laho’ in Niuean means ‘penis’. Communicating effectively involves dialogue that is understood as intended by the parties involved. I came to the realisation during our holidays and for the greater part of this time that we communicated very well with people outside the sphere of our immediate family. Technology has made this so easy and convenient that it’s actually quite intrusive. One night while I was enjoying this succulent lobster that had survived the dangers in the sea only to land on my plate coated with the most beautiful garnish and juices, I noticed my other half texting, and my older children either playing games or updating their Facebook posts. My youngest daughter and I were actually the only one’s savoring the moment. She of course by this stage had gotten past the male anatomy and was greeting people correctly. I’m not sure if I would have survived the impending kick in the ass, slap across the face or other physical or verbal abuse I would have struck if I did the same thing 30 or 40 years ago at the dinner table. Back then you simply came to the table, ate your meal and your attention was only with those around you. You interjected politely with conversation or spoke only when spoken to. It was a brief moment in the day to edify your family bond. I miss those days. Oh enough rambling, good morning sweet iPad, let me wrap you back up snugly while I catch up on some lost sleep.

Swam with a turtle

When I was small my mother and closest aunties called me ‘fonu’ right up until they passed away, which in the Niuean language means turtle. The name fonu became so commonplace, that I just don’t think they knew my real name. My mother spoke the tiniest bit of English and being the eldest, I was her translator for a great deal of the time. She spoke to me in broken English, and I replied back in broken Niuean. The reason for being called fonu was never explained to me, so I’m wondering whether it was the way I moved when I was a hatchling. Or, perhaps there was no adequate translation for the name ‘David’ and they thought, ‘what the heck, lets call him turtle’. I would like to think, that it’s symbolic for being ahead or beating something even when it looks like the odds are up against you. Today, I snorkeled at Black Rock, Maui and came very close to a Green sea turtle. It must have been close to 5′ in length and glided past me en-route to the ocean. I could not even attempt to describe this experience. This will forever be one of the highlights on this trip.