Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Trauma Teddies

About three years ago I wanted to do some simple knitting to try to keep my tingly fingers opertive.  At the same time my daughter volunteered to dress as a Trauma Teddy for the launch of Red Cross Calling month.  I spoke the the ladies from Red Cross, and got myself a pattern for the Trauma Teddies.  These are simple little bears made and donated to be given (mainly to children) when they are in an ambulance, in Emergency Departments, involved in any traumatic experience.
I wish I had kept count of how many I've actually made - but it has to be over 100 in the first year and a bit.  Then I slacked off a bit, and didn't get so many made.  Now I'm on a roll again, and have currently done about 20.
The first bears went to Red Cross, then some were hijacked for the Oncology Unit at the hospital - they became "Dammit Bears" - used to thump on a bench when things are getting you down.  More for the Red Cross, but now I am doing them for Melon's Cottage in Lakes Entrance.  As can be seen from the press release (see link) the cottage provides respite holidays for families with seriously ill children.  Each child staying at the cottage is given a goodie bag, with, among other things, a bear or toy inside.  The latest bears I have been making have red and green clothes - just in time for Christmas.  I've got three completed, and a fourth almost ready to go, so this afternoon I'll take them over to Mum's so she can deliver them this week.

Pattern is simple: (I actually modified it just a little.)
Knit in either three colours, or make a single colour.
Cast on 12 stitches in leg colour.  Knit 34 rows.
Change colour to pants colour.  Knit 8 rows.
Leave stitches on needle.
Cast on 12 stitches in leg colour.  Knit 34 rows.
Change to pants colour.  Knit 8 rows.
Knit across all stitches (24 stitches) for 14 rows.
Change to jumper colour.
Knit 18 rows.
Increase 12 stitches at beginning of next two rows.
Knit 16 rows.
Cast off 12 stitches at beginning of next two rows.
Change to head colour.
Knit 36 rows.
Cast off.
Make paws.
Pick up 10 stitches across arms.
Knit 4 rows.
Decrease 1 stitch each end of next row.
Knit 1 row.
Repeat. (6 stitches)
Cast off.

Stitch back and front together.  Stuff with polyester stuffing.
Thread double strand of wool around head to form neck.
Pinch across corners of head to make ears - stitch.

Friday, December 7, 2012

It's been a while.........

........since I added to this blog.  I have been having a bit of a rough trot of it lately.  The time has come to make the change back to intravenous chemo.  My marker went from 52 to 103 in three weeks.  I am now on Navelbine - one dose per week for three weeks, then a week off.  According to John it shouldn't make me crook.  I've got news for him!  I had my first treatment, and felt quite good for the couple of days afterwards.  Fronted up for the second dose the following week - again, pretty good for the first couple of days, then on the Sunday I crashed big time.  Spent the day in bed, feeling quite off.  Bill took temperature at about 8pm.  It was 38.5 so off we went to Casualty.  I was neutropenic, and I had a gastric infection that was causing dreadful diaorrhea.  I was in a singlle bed ward in Flanagan.  As usual the nurses were lovely, especially considering the yucky task I had for them several times a day, sometimes within the space of five minutes!  I ended up being in hospital for 8 days!  I don't remember some of them.  I had a lovely lot of visitiors though - some even accidental.  John and Julie, Mum and Jim, Clare, Wayne and Abbey, Judi, Bill of course, Andrea and David Fail, Jenni and Dennis Toleman, Erica (chemo nurse), Amanda (I think), Anne and Jim, Charlie Edney and Bob Richards, Jan Richards, Kaye Richards.  It was funny when Bob and Charlie were there - I looked up and saw them standing at the door - how did they know I was in?  Then Charlie said he was looking for Jan Roberts - yes, that's me, and Bob corrected him and said Jan Richards.  Turns out Jan had been in the same room two days before, but had been moved.  Neither of them recognised me without any hair, and didn't see Bill sitting in the corner.  They quickly scurried off to find Jan.  Bill stopped in to see Jan on his way out, so the next time Charlie and Bob came she told them I was in Room 16 and they came to visit intentionally.  Jan also told Kaye Richards that I was in, so she visited a couple of times too.  It was nice to have so many visitiors.  John and Julie also sent me a lovely bouquet of flowers, and Jenni and Dennis brought me a bunch of lillies and alstromerea.  I was very spoiled.  I missed my third dose of chemo as I was still not well.
A week later I saw John again, and had the first dose of round 2.  We decided to go away for a few days, to Eden.  Again, all was well for the first couple of days, but I had 4 days of dry retching after that.  It started in Eden, but we stayed until the Monday as we had planned.  Apparently I was quite white on the trip home!  The next day we were in town, and I started to feel really hot.  I didn't want to go to Casualty and say "I think I have a temperature" so we went to the District Nurses.  I must have been more than a bit pale there too, because when Amanda saw me she said "Oh, my God!"  Anyway, temp was OK so I settled down a bit and we went on our way.  Had chemo the next day.
Port has been playing up, not giving a blood flashback - so next time they were  going to pump some special drug through, leave it to take effect and then see if they can get blood.  Was actually quite good for the whole week.  John had added dexmethsone to my drug list to help with feeling better. Had blood tests before the next dose, just to make sure I wasn't neutropenic.  Neutrophils were down  to 2.2, which might mean they been lower, but were going up, or it might have been the lowest they went.  Whatever, they weren't terribly high, but hadn't made me ill.
Had the special drug into my port, and it seemed to have some effect.  At least they got blood back and it was infusing faster than it did last week.  Crashed a bit on the Friday, so started the dexmeth and seemed to be OK so far.
Had a panic attack in Coles though.  I don't like using public toilets, but I felt the need in Coles, and I knew they had refurbished the loos, so down (literally - six steep steps down) I went.  Horrified when I saw that their refurbishment hadn't included hand rails.  Had no choice but to continue, but then faced the dilemma of how to get myself up - as the cistern was flush in the wall so I couldn't lean on it to lever myself up.  I got quite panicky because I just couldn't see how I was going to get up.  Eventually I did.  There was another lady who had  come in while I was there - she spoke to me, and said she had heard me huffing and puffing and was going to ask if I was alright when I appeared.  Bless her.  I went to the service desk to tell them how disappointed I was that they hadn't thought to include hand rails.  Don't know if it will have any effect.