For a while more I’ve been considering a series of works about the journey Tony and I are on with his health. I’m documenting it in my art journals and am fairly open on social media, especially Twitter, but want to create art I can exhibit.

I started something a few weeks back and got stuck. You can see the initial layers below on a quick night light photo. The beginning felt right but I didn’t know where to go next. I put it aside and spent some time making printed papers & collage tissues, and playing in my art journals.

Today started off very rough; Tony couldn’t stand or walk without help and was tearful and upset. He came right and we went for a drive and morning tea out. He slept for quite a bit of the trip but it was good to get him out of the house.

Tonight he was exhausted so went to bed early. I headed back to my art desk, pulled out the work I’d started weeks ago, and grabbed the tissue papers. I’ll have a look in the daylight but think I’ve got it. I’m feeling quietly excited!

Exploring colour

One of the Dina Wakley art tutorial videos I watched recently suggested making a reference file of all your Dina Wakley paints, showing the analogous (neighboring) colours and the opposite or near opposite colours. It’s a fun exercise and a good way of finding new colour combinations to use in your artwork. I bought a new notebook and worked my way through each paint in my collection, adding the analogous colours from her colour wheel, then using pieces from the Collage Collective to glue on small accents from opposite on the colour wheel. I found some combinations I absolutely love! Here’s a sample of the pages I’ve made.

Art videos

While I’ve been off work recuperating, I’ve watched hours and hours of art tutorial videos by Dyan Reaveley, Dina Wakley, Niamh Baly and Tim Holtz. Sometimes I learn new techniques, or new ways to use existing products, other times I’m reminded of things I used to do. It’s always good to find new ways to use existing products. And, yes, I’ve bought quite a lot of new stuff too 😉

I’d had one of Dina Wakley’s small white journals before and loved it, so bought another one recently so I could practice what I was seeing in her art videos in an accessible format. I’ve been playing with creating abstract figures using her acrylic gloss spray, different ways of creating backgrounds including using her black gesso, and experimenting with colour combinations. I’ve found the wee abstract figures are great for playing with colour combinations and think this journal is going to be quite full of these quirky characters!

Making progress

It’s now 3 weeks since my surgery and I’m healing well (mainly lol). I went for blood tests Tuesday then saw the Dr Wednesday. He wasn’t totally thrilled and sent me to A&E so they could re-x-ray my tummy to check for leaks, and redo the bloods. Dr Georgina and I had a long chat after the x-rays checked out ok, and decided I just wasn’t resting enough. It’s hard to rest with Tony so sick, but I’m working on it 😉

Speaking of work, tomorrow I am returning to work but only doing half days from home. I’m looking forward to it. I love my job, and miss my colleagues and staff. But I also know my brain is still a bit fuzzy and I tire easily, so will make sure I work to my own pace. This week I just need to clear a bazillion emails and do the quarterly financial reports.

Today Sandra came up from Whanganui and took Tony to Hawera. They went to Bunnings so he could buy Tulip bulbs then had lunch at Upside Down Cafe. I’m so grateful to her for taking him out, at his pace. They’ve always been good mates and getting out of the house is good for him. He’s worn out and has pretty much been asleep ever since, except for dinner of Instant Pudding and tinned peaches!

We’re fortunate to have people helping us in a variety of ways, and I’m grateful for the love and support we receive.

Another scar or two!

Some of you will have seen this on social media, others only follow me here – and I feel the need to put the whole story together. Two weeks ago I woke up just after midnight with a nasty pain in my tummy, rolled over and went back to sleep – like you do! I woke about 3.30 and knew straight away I needed an ambulance. I dialled 111 then woke Roger, asking him to tell Tony & Ailsa in the morning that I’d gone to hospital. I remember being surprised Roger stayed up with me instead of going back to bed; clearly I was already really unwell…

I have zero recollection of the trip to Hawera, Hawera A&E and an x-ray or the trip to New Plymouth. I vaguely remember being on the hall in A&E in New Plymouth and wanting pain relief but couldn’t get anyone’s attention. I don’t remember the Doctors, but sort of remember going for an MRI and Mr Farrant talking to me about surgery.

I woke up much later in the day, having had a hole on my stomach/bowel repaired. My plumbing is weird after weight loss surgery, so it was technically bowel, but acting like stomach. There was a *lot* of goop in my abdomen so it seems it had been leaking for a while. The surgeon said I’d had a painless ulcer which had ruptured.

I spent a few days on IV fluids, catheter and nasal feeding tube. The feeding tube was the last to come out. I was a bit stressed about them removing it, and when I mentioned it to Mr Farrant he did it straight away, so I didn’t have time to fret. I did manage to get him to wait long enough for me to put Pink on. He laughed and said it was the first time he’d performed to music! I listen to music when they do anything like IV lines etc so I can zone out and not fuss. And boy, did I get through some IV lines…

Mr Farrant said a couple of times that I nearly died – not the first time I’ve had a bad thing happen, and reminiscent of the aspiration pneumonia. Being me, I’m healing well and tolerating softish food. I am finding my brain is fuzzy, thanks to the general anesthetic, whereas my knee replacement was done with a spinal block so I didn’t suffer any brain fade. He recommended a further two weeks off work from last Tuesday then part time, and I’m meeting with my manager Fiona and Jill (our H&S person) to come up with a ‘return to work’ plan tomorrow after I go for blood tests.

What am I left with? A lifetime of anti-ulcer meds, some spectacular bruises – which are fading rapidly – and a bunch more scars on my tummy. I seem to collect them, like others collect stamps or teddy bears. I have a 5″ one from major surgery almost 30 years ago and 10 small ones from weight loss surgery and this drama. Still, better scarred than dead any day 🙂

I’m hugely grateful to the ambulance service, Hawera & NP A&E, staff on ward 3B at Base, family – especially Ailsa who once again was by my side through medical drama, friends, colleagues and my Twitter friends who provided love, care and support.

I had a nasty reaction to the IV line at one stage!
Post-surgery on the first day and not feeling too flash.

Getting the IV line out meant I could shower with just my ‘trunk’ to manage…
And the nasal feeding tube is gone 🙂