Tag Archives: back pain

Weekend Coffee Share November 20, 2016.

Welcome to Another Weekend Coffee Share!

This is a very special weekend coffee share for me because today is my husband’s 50th Birthday…Happy Birthday, Geoff!

So, the last week has been flat out with trying to organise a birthday celebration, food and worst of all, trying to get the house presentable…forget tidy. We’re just talking “good enough”. I am a very extroverted, sociable person and I love having people over but with my health being problematic, getting on top of the house is a huge struggle and I tend to keep people out. I’ve really had to talk to myself about this and that the state of the house shouldn’t matter. I love baking and when I have friends over, there’s the pavlova, my Raspberry & White Chocolate Cheese Cake. So am trying to think it’s enough that our friends feel welcome, eat well and feel loved. If they have a problem, with the house they can come over and lend a hand. I won’t send them packing.

Why is it that having the perfect house is seen as a barometer of characher, particularly for women? It seems we can conquer so many different world but heaven help you if you a messy house! That’s a capital offense!!

So we’ve had a busy weekend of celebrations.

Last night, we went out for a very special celebratory dinner with family at Sous Le Soleil, a French restaurant in Roseville, Sydney.  The restaurant operates out of  Firs cottage, which was been built before 1824 by Daniel Dering Mathew (1788-1856) and is located in the middle of Roseville Park. So, before we even get to the food, we’re looking a really quaint historic cottage set in parkland and that just ticks all my boxes. The restaurant also has a range of Frenchenalia including aprons, tea towels, Christmas decorations and a place mat featuring a map of Paris. Needless to say, I was in love before I’d even had a bite but then the food was also exquisite with a real symphony of flavours. I have scallops for entree, duck for main course and a sticky date pudding with caramelised pineapple an rum & raisin ice cream. We also had a scrumptious chocolate mouse birthday cake. The presentation was also exquisite. Overall, though what I loved about going there was that we had a room to ourselves and dining there had the feel of having an intimate and private dinner party in your home without having to do all the work yourself. Brilliant!

Today, we went out for lunch locally with Geoff’s sister and niece and then had friends over for an impromptu afternoon tea. We’re planning to have a proper celebration in the New Year when things aren’t so hectic. It’s not a good time of year to try to get all those very special friends together to celebrate this momentous occasion…50 Not Out!

By the way, I’ll also share that yesterday was Bilbo’s 10th Birthday, which makes him 70 in dog years. His birthday present was having the lot of us go out and leave him at home with Lady. However, I hope he enjoyed Geoff’s celebrations today. He found a whole new cast of unwitting ball throwers who found his persistence and endurance inspirational…especially when he was huffing and puffing and looking half dead in the heat. Obsession…addiction…these are words Bilbo only knows too well!!


Mum looking after me.

While we’ve had the excitement and hard work of Geoff’s birthday, my mother was admitted to hospital with acute muscle spasms in her back. While not life threatening, the situation has certain been very stressful. nobody likes to see anyone suffer, but when it’s someone you love, gave birth to you and has been there your whole entire life, it takes you right off the richter scale. There are no words to describe that impact, even when you know that it’s not fatal. It’s not the end of the world but it’s still not good. I ended up turning to my blog for solace, writing Caring For Mum.

Last week, I also participated in Friday Fictioneers for the first time and really loved it. This week’s photo prompt was a cello and it was fascinating reading through all the responses to the prompt. I don’t know how the other writers felt but I had been so focused on my Vision or interpretation that I saw no other and I really had to re-read a few to get their vision, which was equally there in the photo as well. It was a really productive exercise, quite aside from being fun and meeting so great new writers as well. You can read my effort here: Silent Strings

Thursday night, I had my last Lyrical Dance lesson for the year. I apologise for not posting any photos of me sporting my tutu. You’ll just have to let your imaginations paint a picture instead. My daughter came along to watch, which was a bit intimidating but she did sit out in the corridor peering in, rather than glaring intently at us somewhat challenged adult dancers. That was probably a good move as we’re not quite ready for an audience yet. I’m really going to miss my classes and am already thinking ahead to next year and am thinking of adding tap to the mix.

So, I don’t know if that’s covered last week but it’s getting late and a whole new week starts tomorrow. This coming week has been re-badged as “School Spectacular” and our daughter has rehearsals Wednesday, Thursday and performances on Friday and Saturday. Somehow, she survived all of this last year so I’m encouraged that she and us can survive this year as well. That said, as much as I love School Spec, I’m feeling exhausted just thinking about it.

How has your week been and do you have anything special planned for the coming week? I hope things are going well and if you’re struggling with the cold, I’m happy to send you some of our heat.

This has been part of the Weekend Coffee Share hosted by Diana at Part-Time Monster.

Love and best wishes,








Caring for Mum.

Yesterday, I shared about finding out my brother’s cat, Archie had passed away. What I didn’t mention, was that my Mum’s in hospital with acute back pain. Although we initially joked about it being like a holiday with a room to herself and meals arriving like magic, the reality is different. Even with a brilliant imagination, you can’t keep pretend that you’re lying by the pool when you’re in agony, in hospital and you don’t know why or how it happened. One day, you were you and the next day, your back seizes up and you’re in excruciating pain and you’ve become someone else. What happened?

Except for me, these questions are being asked in the third person. What’s happened to Mum?



If you asked me to describe my Mum, I’d tell you that she loves the beach and looks great in a bikini. Because when I immediately picture my Mum as my Mum, she must be about 30 and she’s wearing a bikini and she’s full of beans. She’s playing tennis, swimming at the beach and driving us all over the countryside to piano, violin, ballet and she’s nowhere near a hospital. Indeed, even my grandmother running round the shops needing some kind of harness to keep her under control. She was getting around with the same speed as my toddler son whose now 13 and attached to electronics most of the time these days and now much, much easier to catch.

I’ve shared about this weird sensation about time before. That just because we’ve aged, it doesn’t mean that our idea of who were are or those close to us, has aged along with the physical body. I know for me there’s definitely a huge disparity and I remember my grandmother telling me that she didn’t recognise the old lady staring back at her. That was someone else and her true reflection was simply hiding somewhere behind the glass.


I haven’t been prepared for Mum to grow old.


Mum has been our rock through my health crises taking in the kids for 7 weeks when I was first diagnosed with dermatomyositis. She had two traumatized, very active kids and it was very intense for Mum, Dad and my brother.Yet, they were there. They were my strength when I clearly had none…physically or emotionally.

So, it’s hard to come around to the idea that Mum, indeed my parents, are drifting into the elderly category. Where it won’t be Mum taking me or the kids shopping, and we could well be taking her. That instead of her visiting me in hospital, it’s us visiting her. As much as I’m glad to be well away from hospital these days, that doesn’t give her permission to sign up. Moreover,  it definitely doesn’t give The Patron Saint of Hospital Admissions permission to come after her. It can well and truly leave all of us alone thank you very much!!

I guess what I wanted to write about and tap into is this sense of unfolding grief we often experience these days when older family members and friends have protracted medical treatments. We watch their strength, personality and even memory get chipped away, chipped away ever so slowly and you and they both know that they’re not how they used to be, and yet they’re still here. Indeed, I had two grandparents live with long term Alzheimers and by the time they died, I had almost run out of tears. My grief had been used up along the way.

That’s because there is grief along this journey, even though there’s also that gratitude and relief that they’re still here.

So, now while I’m feeling rotten about Mum being in hospital and knowing how much pain she’s experiencing, I still feel in a sense that I have no right to grieve. She’s not dying. She’s “fine” only she’s actually along way from being fine and we have no crystal ball about what this means. My son still expected Mama to pick him up from school this afternoon. After all, that’s what Mama does and has been doing on Wednesdays ever since he’s been born almost 13 years ago. She’s been here…an hour’s drive away hail, rain or shine because she loves us. Moreover, given my health problems and uncertainty over the years, she has been their rock. The net that catches my kids when everything’s falling apart and there’s no ground to land on. She hasn’t been there only support but she’s definitely been there.

I had to remind him that Mama is in hospital.

Mum and I didn’t get on for many years and we’re very different people. Being an extreme extrovert, she often tried to reign me in…something I didn’t understand until I was doing the same with our very extroverted son. Obviously, nobody explains all of this to you when you’re a kid. Yet, the yin and yang between introverts and extroverts is something I need to understand with family. After all, opposites attract and it’s understandable that there’d be a mix throughout the family. Having that understanding has been critical for better relations.

So, even though Mum doesn’t let me write about her, I needed to share my anguish, my gratitude that she’s not worse and to provide a space for you to share these complex and challenging emotions. I am very lucky to be 47 and to have both my parents alive but I also can’t imagine a world without them in it. They’ve been here forever just like the air I breathe in and out.

Not that I need to think about that now but at the same time, I feel the need to acknowledge this partial grief and concern for my mother being in so much pain. It’s very hard to think about her suffering, but being there for her, means embracing it head on and being her daughter…not a coward.

I would like to open up the comments section for people to share their feelings and reflections about parents getting old, losing a parent and please link to your posts. I am thinking of you and send you my love and prayers!

xx Rowena

PS Despite the seriousness of Mum’s situation, there’s still opportunity for humour. When we told our son that Mama was going for a bone density scan, he asked if she was getting carbon dated. Well, at least I was laughing!