Universal Wake-Up Call

Isn’t life ironic? I think it’s incredible how, just when I find myself complacent, the universe gives me a nice big smack to remind me that complacency is not good for me! ONE DAY after I wrote my last post, about how routine, “easy” and groovy life has been, I find myself in an ambulance headed to the hospital with Drew. Now that he’s ok, I really just have to look back and laugh, and say, “Yes! Ok! Got the message—thank you!”
He’d had a cold that weekend, but nothing major. He’d been sleeping well, eating well, had good energy, etc. He woke up Tuesday coughing a bit, but nothing that really worried us. Now the only time I set my phone aside while I’m at work is during the 20 minutes that I go to the break room to eat lunch. The school called during that time (of course). When I called back, they said Drew had been coughing quite a bit and seemed pretty unhappy, but had come down to the office for a rest, perked up some and headed back to class to eat lunch. We agreed that if he ended up back there again before the day ended, that we’d come pick him up. I didn’t hear back, so assumed he was ok.
When I got home that evening, he was watching TV and looked sick, although he wasn’t coughing much. I offered him an alternative to our dinner, which I never do. He accepted the toast, but wasn’t interested, began looking more miserable by the minute, and was happy when I brought up the idea of a bath. We bathed the kids and Steve went off to play football, while I got more and more worried. At bedtime, he just couldn’t settle—coughing a lot and seemingly short of breath. The boy can cry loudly enough to bring the house down with a skinned knee, so I thought the breathing might have just been fever and discomfort with some drama mixed in (mean, horrible Mommy!). I asked if he was having trouble getting air and he repeatedly told me No.
I called the nurse line. The nurse who could hear him told me to get him seen by the after hours’ doctor at our house that night. This service is my favorite part of the healthcare system in Australia. We waited a couple hours for the doctor to arrive (at NO cost!) and I almost cancelled it during that time, because he’d fallen asleep and I felt guilty having a doctor come all the way out to the house to visit a peacefully sleeping child. He just didn’t sound right, though, so I didn’t cancel. He woke up when she started examining him and she lifted up his shirt and my eyes teared up. His chest was retracting and you could see his ribs with each breath. I felt absolutely horrible that I hadn’t thought to do that earlier when I’d asked him how he was breathing. She gave him three treatments with a puffer and called the ambulance. The treatments helped him tremendously and he enjoyed the thrill of the ambulance ride—I’m glad one of us did!
We ended up spending two nights in a public hospital and came home Thursday afternoon. It was in the hospital that I missed the American healthcare system. Everyone was very nice and he got great care, but the patient food was disgusting and unhealthy and I DO NOT like sharing a room—yuck! One of our sweet neighbors brought me a magazine and chocolate, in addition to bread and milk for Steve and Zach at home, so we made things better by sharing the chocolate around the room. If you’re in a hospital, you NEED chocolate!
Bless his little heart; he was such a sweet, accepting patient. He did everything they asked of him without complaint–as long as they didn’t mind that he was completely zoned out on TV, there were no issues. I didn’t sleep much and was a bit of an anxious, crabby wreck.
My main issue with this hospital was that the nurse who discharged us sent us home with an empty inhaler! They gave us a weaning plan of how often to administer the medication over the next 4 days and I specifically asked if there was enough left in the tube they’d been using. She assured me there was and we ran out on the 2nd day! No prescription, no more medicine—wth?! I thank God that he didn’t have another attack, because I don’t know how many times I gave it to him while it had nothing in it, before I realized it was empty! Wow, just wow……
That whole incident was a big wake up call for me to remember to be grateful daily for our good health. I’ve kept a gratitude journal for almost 4 years now, where I write down 3 things I am grateful for at the end of each day. I enjoy the reflection. But it is amazing, how even with that daily practice, I take good health for granted. I was also so grateful for the numerous friends here who brought us food, helped with Zach and just gave us moral support. In addition, I was grateful for the friends and family far away who kept sending us love and support. This was another instance that made me thankful for technology—it can definitely be annoying and I have to continually work on managing the time I spend on it, but man, is it an incredible gift as well!

Breaking out of the hospital! Yippee!
Breaking out of the hospital! Yippee!

Of course, Zach got the same bad cold the following week. Luckily, other than a couple bumpy nights at home trying to settle his cough, it didn’t get serious. By the weekend of June 22nd, we were all quite healthy again. And, as luck would have it, Steve and I had a babysitter booked and Keith Urban tickets for Tuesday the 17th. We’d had the tickets for months and when the night came, I felt so guilty leaving Zach. He was doing relatively well and we know the babysitter really well, so we went for it, and, of course, again, he did fine. He started coughing and having issues AFTER we got home! It left us relative zombies on Wednesday, but otherwise everyone was no worse for wear.
Sign on the way into Brisbane's largest live music venue--say, what?!
Sign on the way into Brisbane’s largest live music venue–say, what?!

The biggest way that all this affected me (selfishly, I need to explain this part) was that I had a lot going on with the yoga business, as well as an ongoing freelance writing project, and my race training amping up, all at the same time, when this happened. It all combined to make me feel very overwhelmed. I thought I’d reached the stage in my children’s lives that I could try something as crazy as starting my own business and training for a longish race, and suddenly, I was rethinking it all, wondering what the heck possessed me to try either of those, when sleep is not a guarantee! It reinforced to me that my family is the most important thing to me. Even with running a business, not everything is urgent and space can be, and must be made, when needed to take care of my boys.
Thankfully, we’ve had some pretty quiet weekends to start feeling normal again. Although that just makes me wonder if there’s a reason that my kids haven’t been invited to many birthday parties lately! Ay yi yi—my crazy, spinning brain!
And, another two weeks off from school began last week, and they have been very relaxing and productive so far, just what I think we all needed.
Highlights after everyone’s been feeling well, for me, have included our first trip to Queensland’s first Costco! Yippee! Sadly, it has brought super-sizes of the fattening, terrible, processed foods that nobody should be eating, that can only contribute to Australia’s growing obesity problem—catch us right up to the U.S.! But for a health nut like me, it means roasted seaweed, pita chips and reasonably priced foods like chia seeds, quinoa, dried fruits and coconut oil. Again—yippee! I can’t say how many stores here I’ve searched for dried cherries since we moved here—yummy!

Also, I did two 17.6km jogs on two recent Sunday mornings, and my dear husband packed up the boys and supplies and food and met me at my finish points to cook us all a BBQ breakfast. It was delightful, not only to run that far in one direction, which felt so liberating and like a great accomplishment, but to have their support, meeting me at the end for breakfast. They could just think—“Ok. Mommy’s on a training run today. We’ll just have breakfast without her and see her when she gets home.” But, they didn’t. They made an event out of it and made it more fun for all of us. I love that my husband is willing to do things like that.
How great is it that I can find this little guy after the end of a long run for a chilly breakfast by the sea?!
How great is it that I can find this little guy after the end of a long run for a chilly breakfast by the sea?!

I ran 19kms today and am as ready as I can be for the race in two weeks. Wish me luck! It may sound crazy, but I still get sad hearing about pregnancies and babies. I have a few friends having babies now, or pregnant, some with a 3rd child, and while I am honestly incredibly happy for them, it still makes me sad. For whatever crazy reason, my miscarriage made me want to do something that was all about me, and that made me feel strong and my body feel competent. That was the impetus for finally signing up for this half marathon. I knew I couldn’t do one if I was pregnant—at least for a couple years. Since I’m not pregnant, I decided to go for it. So, two weeks and here goes!! I’m excited. 
Enjoying the sunrise after jogging on a chilly morning!
Enjoying the sunrise after jogging on a chilly morning!

Another highlight was the purchase of a waffle maker! I actually brought a friend’s old one over here this past January—taking up about 15 pounds of my allotted luggage weight and about half of one suitcase—only to have the fuse blow the first time we turned it on. Doh! So this past week, we enjoyed our first homemade waffles in Australia—fabulous!
The most recent highlight was a fun, lively 4th of July celebration that we held yesterday, on the 5th, out at a nearby reservoir. Our party included 4 other half-American, half-Aussie families, some South Africans who’ve lived in the U.S. for a few years and some true blue Aussies, up for a different kind of celebration.  It was a great time with good people and I am thankful for the opportunity to still celebrate such important dates on the other side of the world.
I was proud of my flag fruit pizza!  Of course, I had helpers.... :)
I was proud of my flag fruit pizza! Of course, I had helpers…. 🙂

I finish up my part time job in two days. Then it’s a big leap and hope for the best!
Oh, by the way, I saw on the news that the Queen’s birthday was actually being celebrated in England the week of June 10th, just after our public holiday here on the 9th. So, as an update to my last post–it’s not just some weird Aussie reason for celebrating her birthday in June. Her birthday is in April, but something official must be celebrated related to it in June—in England, too! Weird, but good to know…..


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