While running a skipper’s course for some fourteen year olds recently we were chatting about school, families and fishing stories. When asked about brothers and sisters, one boy was critical of his sister and I reflected on my attitudes towards my two older sisters at an age when I had little idea of the value of family. With no quality time to delve into the topic, I simply told him that I had once felt likewise, but now had an incredibly strong connection with both my sisters and trusted that in time he would also. Little was he to know, I had only just returned from what could only be described as a rescue mission for my sister, Sharryn, who had serious complications from an operation and had then undergone a five hour emergency procedure to basically save her life.
I had just returned from a Fitzroy River fishing trip and was all buoyed at landing 11 barramundi up to 91cm, when my older sister Colleen, rang with the bad news. It took a day to sort out our Broome world, but in the meantime I was able to book a room right next to the Port Macquarie hospital and arrived two days later. Us three siblings are ‘hospital maintenance veterans’, after similar experiences for our mum and dad. Within a day though, Colleen and I realised this was a very different proposition. We had been taken by complete surprise because Sharryn was relatively young, fit, a minimal drinker, and non smoker. It was immediately apparent that she was totally overwhelmed and remained ‘nil by mouth’ for another eight days before starting to show positive signs of recovery. I am very pleased to say she is now out of hospital and although it may take six to twelve months, a recovery back to full health is now expected.
Spending this much time in a hospital makes you appreciate the dedication displayed by the nurses and staff. Within no time we were helping them whenever we could, which included assisting with the five ward room moves that Sharryn endured. Then there was the issue with coming to terms with medical jargon. Surgeons and staff were quizzed, laptops and phones in overdrive, finding out about TPN feeds, cliniflo breathing apparatus, Hartmann’s procedures, nasogastric tubes and so on. As my mum use to said, we wanted to know “the ins and outs of a magpie’s bum”, but in the end you have to leave all this to the experts and just tidy up around the edges. We did this by way of motivation chats, foot massages, crosswords, journal writing and daily walks after day seven. Sharryn won the prize for the best Xmas tree trolley ( pictured ) because she had the most tubes and extras hanging off it. There were other light hearted moments to inject humor into proceedings, one of which involved me presenting the Fred’s Final Fashion birthday gift to Sharryn. Fred, being my family nickname and fashion, being something I know very little about, but somehow I managed to conjure up a navy blue/black accessories theme, complete with matching beanie, bunbag, belt and umbrella. As they say, laughter is the best medicine, so we made sure that was part of the gig whenever appropriate. I had brought some Kimberley Spirit over with me in the form of my dad’s old akubra hat, which I presented to Sharryn on arrival, with the strict instructions it could only be returned to the place where it had come from, in person, when the time was right. She is already planning the journey!
To answer last week’s question, the previous owner of the sailing vessel ‘Psyche’, was Brendan Symes, alias Alby Mongrel. This week’s question is, “Who recently attempted to sail single handedly around Antarctica?”
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