Friday, May 3, 2024

The aftermath

Friday, I paced the apartment, closing Ray's bedroom door and then opening it. It is closed at the moment, and to be sensible it will save on the heating bill which I will have to pay on my own, among everything else. 

I know his phone PIN but not that for his banking app. It doesn't really matter but I am pleased I knew his phone PIN as a couple of condolences came to his phone. As the days have gone on the tissue usage count has lowered and my voice only quavered once today when Fire Fighting Nephew called. 

I couldn't keep just pacing around. I need to get our. I was overwhelmed with messages, emails and phone calls. We I needed a loaf of bread so the afternoon after Ray's death, I caught the tram to Prahran where I ran into one of Ray's former clients who uses a wheel chair and Ray used to transport as a volunteer driver. I told him the sad news. 

I sat in Prahran Square with my takeaway coffee where we would sit together to eat a sandwich or a sausage roll with our coffee, but I have been there alone many times, so it didn't feel so bad. Today I was back there and one staff automatically wrote down Ray's usual coffee, an extra hot skinny flat white. Sorry love. My friend has died. 

Back to Friday. I went to Baker's Delight to buy a sliced white loaf. 

"Sandwich or toast?"

What? 

Do you want it thinly sliced or thickly sliced. 

I stared at him blankly for five seconds. Ray always bought the bread. 

Sandwich please. I now have very thinly sliced bread. Apparently we normally have toast sized slices. Learning curve #1 one sorted. I bought some coleslaw in the supermarket for dinnerto go with dinner but it was undressed. I wasn't thinking clearly. I ended up have a packet of soup and very thin toast. 

Hairdresser Friend insisted on visiting on her way home from work. It was a nice visit but I was glad when she left. I'd felt cold all day, which happens to me if I am tired, and I was absolutely exhausted after so little sleep the night before. I slept pretty well but of course when I woke, what is this nightmare situation I am living in. 

Saturday, ABI Brother, Tradie Brother and his daughter Hippie Niece,  Sister, Bone Doctor and Jo visited. The latter three stayed on and took me out for dinner. Jo went to the spare room as I had told her Ray had kept the art work they had created in a drawer. We heard a sob in the bedroom and Sister nodded to me in that direction to go into Jo. We both fell on the bed holding each other and cried our eyes out for a few minutes. He was somewhat of a father figure to her when she was young.

Sunday morning I had coffee at a neighbour's place, then it was turn of Ex sis in Law and her husband, and soon after they arrived, so did Oldest Niece, her husband and their three children. 

There is much to do when your beloved dies and as the days went on I slowly tackled it all.

Monday was a visit to the funeral parlour to arrange the cremation. Sister came up by train to support me. That was very kind of her and we had brunch afterwards.

Tuesday a visit to the bank. 

Wednesday was the last post with Nephew, his wife and their kids. 

Thursday, I did minimal shopping. Thrice I was asked where Ray was. While not normally after shopping, I did drive the circuitous route home around the lake we sometimes used after brunch in Port Melbourne. More administrative matters later.  

Two weeks ago we had paid about half the money for having the apartment painted and recarpeted. The week before we had booked a Queensland holiday. Fly to Brisbane, stay a few days, train with a bed to Cairns, stay a few days and fly home. I'm delaying the former and cancelling the latter. 

Days are passing and as I type, exactly one week ago less an hour or so, Ray was in hospital and quite aware. He had so much to live for. 

Meals are difficult. It is decades since I've cooked aside from making fried rice. I am trying to address that but it is low priority, as long as I eat something. I find most frozen supermarket meals have vegetables too well cooked and the mashed potato in the meal below, too soft. It tasted ok and it was an adequate amount of food, but. I will look at the meal delivery company Hello Fresh. 

Thursday, May 2, 2024

A lighter note

Fire Fighting Nephew, his wife and their four year old daughter and nearly two year old twin boys visited yesterday. It was a big effort for them, with around three hours of driving here and back. We had fish and chips, well rather much more, for lunch sitting outside on a lovely sunny but cool day in Port Melbourne. 

We went to the beach where there is a 'sand playground', a good sandy park with plenty of play equipment on the edge of the beach. The boys only suffered minor injuries. 

Unfortunately our building's spa heating has failed but the pool is warm, so they all swam. Only one boy nearly drowned, the one that hates water at the beach, plunged himself into the lap pool without a shallow area from the pool edge without warning, and sank straight to the bottom. Daddy quickly rescued him. 

It was tiring but so nice, and it is hard to feel sad when children are around.  

Every child who has ever visited here wants carry the soft sand filled lizard around. 

And roll about on the exercise ball. We've only kept it for that reason. 


"I don't think we've forgotten anything?"

Well, yeah, you did actually.

Monday, April 29, 2024

ANZAC night life changing

I will write in the future of the aftermath but here is the timeline of the night and what happened. It really helps me to write. 

We had a nice Anzac Day together. Most shops were closed until 1pm in respect for the day so we just crossed the road to a cafe that was doing very good trade with people returning home after the dawn service and later the march. I can't remember what we chose to eat, no matter.

In the afternoon, Ray retired to his room to watch his favourite tv shows on his bedroom tv and have his nanna nap. I think I went out for a walk and then spent some time on this device.

5.45 Ray set the dinner table and put the ingredients out on the kitchen bench for dinner. It was to be high quality fish fingers, chips and coleslaw he would make himself. 

5.58 Ray poured himself a glass of wine and sat in his lounge chair to watch the commercial tv's six o'clock news.

6.02 He walked past the back of my computer chair where I was sitting and made a couple of strange noises as he headed to his bedroom. I thought I would finish what I was doing online and see if he was ok.

6.03 He called out my name. What's wrong hon? Terrible stomach pain. I feel like I am dying. I checked his pulse, seemed ok. No temperature on his forehead. His breathing was a bit fast, a bit panting. I asked him if he wanted an ambulance and he replied, not sure. Two minutes later he asked me to call an ambulance, which I immediately did. The emergency call person told me an ambulance was on its way and handed me over to someone else who sent me a link to my phone and said to just click on it and it would automatically work if I clicked accept voice and camera. Visually by my phone he checked Ray's breathing rate and how unwell he looked. 

6.20 Ambulance arrived and called via the intercom. The silly thing I remember is that they were both name Nick. The pain in Ray's stomach was terrible and he was becoming more distressed. The paras hooked him up to portable machines and while his heart rate was ok, his blood pressure was very low. They gave him a strong pain killer injection but it didn't seem to relieve him much. The paras asked me to gather up his medications, phone, and his Medicare card.

6.30 At a second attempt after he fell back onto the bed in such pain at the first attempt, they managed to get Ray into a wheelchair to take him down to the ambulance. He was still so distressed and it was awful to see. I asked if he wanted me to come with him and he said no. He had his phone with him and I said I will await a call from the hospital.  

6.45 Ray was at emergency at the hospital. 

I thought I would call the hospital at 10pm. 

9.30 Ray called. I've had a CT scan and there is something not right in my stomach. I'm waiting for the doctor to come and speak to me. I'm still in some pain but I don't feel too bad. I replied, so I can have a drink now, as you won't need me tonight. No, you have a drink and have a good night's sleep. Ok, I'll pack a bag for you and come in early tomorrow morning. 

I had a couple of drinks and I was in bed before 11pm. I then did the most stupid thing. I forgot to take my phone to bed and put it on charge. I rarely do that. I can only think I was stressed and worried. But really, how did I do that when Ray was in hospital? 

1.00am Eventually the intercom ring penetrated my sleeping brain. Straight away I knew this was not a good thing. I answered to see two police officers and one said, you're not in trouble Mr Andrew but can we come up to speak to you. As I opened the apartment door, I said to them, 'This is not going to be good news is it?'. 'No Mr Andrew, is isn't. Ray has died. In your own time, we can take you to The Alfred to see him'. I checked my phone and saw the 11.45 call from the hospital. I dressed and I called the hospital and I think got quickly through to A&E. They told me to enter using the main entrance. I relayed this to the police. They suggested I call someone to tell them what had happened and to get support. I can't remember if I did but everyone would have been asleep anyway.  

I dressed and got myself organised and with the cops, went down in the lift. They said, 'We are sure you don't want to be seen getting in and out of a divvy van, so we have a car here to take you. 

The hospital staff were lovely. The doctor told me what had happened. He had a severe aorta bleed, the aorta being the large artery that carries blood to or from the heart. Think of it as a bulge in bicycle tube, a weak spot, and it bursts. There is only a 20% survival rate. The blood pools in the abdomen, hence the stomach pain Ray suffered. While doctors poured blood into him, it was too late and he slipped into an unconscious state and then died from blood loss. 

Ray was in a room, and most tubes and wires had been removed bar the intubation tube down his throat. He looked peaceful. His face had cooled but his covered over body was still very warm. I spent about 15 minutes with him and just walked out of the hospital unnoticed. I almost reached St Kilda Road for 1.5 kilometre walk home and remembered I had forgotten to pick up Ray's personal effects, mostly a shirt, his medications and his phone. 

I returned to the hospital emergency and told someone at the desk about the matter. A nurse came and said, I'll get them for you and asked if I wanted Ray's wedding ring too. It isn't a wedding ring but I did want it. He brought them out and then asked where I lived as he put his hand on my shoulder in comfort. I told him and he asked how I was getting home. He said, you can't do that. I'll call you a cab and give you a taxi voucher There was one button in the waiting area to press to get a cab, which duly arrived.

"How's your night been" chirped the taxi driver. "Not great. My partner of 44 years has just suddenly died." "So sorry. I'm sure she was lovely". He was foreign born and I don't blame him for making assumptions. I must seem quite masculine, hey. But assumptions about my partner's gender kept coming from professional people who should be trained at how to use neutral language until the sex of the person being discussed is known. There will be more about that in the aftermath post.

It was daytime in England of course, so I called Ray's closest sister who was on holiday in Spain. After telling her what had happened, I did ask if she was having a nice holiday. She replied, "I was until you called".

Ray's two other sisters called shortly after. At 4am I went to bed and decided since I was on my own, I would leave my bedroom door open and so heard the clock strike five. I slept until about 6.30.

I've cropped me out of this photo I used on FB with some words, concluding with "22/03/49 - 25/04/24.

This is the last photo of us together, Sydney, March, 2024 and what a great day we had. Who would of thought..."

Words #397

I pronounce words so differently to many people in Australia. I don't know why. It is just how I speak. Here are some  examples. Integra...