Thursday, February 28, 2008

Me Mum Too

Thanks to everyone who sent their best wishes. Mum's artery in her left leg is totally blocked from her groin to above her knee and again from below her knee to her foot. The doctor's will insert a plastic artery from her right leg to bypass the other blockage and hopefully return some blood circulation to her left foot. She is booked to go into hospital on Monday and is to be operated on on Wednesday next week.

Of course there are a lot of risks involved with a 77 year old undergoing a general anesthetic as well as risks of post operative infections but the risk of not having the procedure done is that gangrene may set in and ultimately that would lead to amputation. She is still in denial about the cause of the blockages. In her mind it is due to her back pain despite the doctor telling her it was caused by her smoking. I've just hung up the phone from her and I could tell she was smoking while she was talking to me. What's that about old dogs?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Me Mum

I had close to 2000 emails waiting for me on my return of which around 600 have required some response and I am now still at work waiting for a meeting so forgive me for not yet having gotten around to reading any of your blogs and catching up on what you've been doing. I know I owe people some emails and I promise I will get around to answering. This again will be a quick post.

Whilst I was away I got a message from my sister telling me that Mum had received some results from tests she had done and that further investigation from specialists was required. Around 18 months ago she had an operation on her spine to fuse some disks but the surgery showed quite extensive deterioration due to osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. It now seems that the arteries in her legs have collapsed and that she has no blood circulation to her feet.

Tomorrow we visit the specialist for the results of the tests and the prognosis. There are several possibilities. The best case is that a stent can be inserted and open up the arteries, the worst case is a possible amputations. I'll know more tomorrow.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Little Wonders

I'm back from a wonderful trip. I've spent the past two days processing some of the photos and over the next couple of weeks I'll be posting about Thailand and what a great place it is. I want to go into some detail in the off chance that people searching will find some of the information useful.

I'll get around to visiting my blogs friends over the next week as well.

In the meantime I am really pleased to say that my youngest daughter stayed at my place last night for the first time in around 18 months and when her mother goes away at the end of the week on a holiday she'll be staying with us.

So in celebration may I ask you to listen to the following from Rob Thomas.

Monday, February 11, 2008

A Taste of Thailand

Hi all,
Monday 5:20pm here and we're in Sukothai which is in the Central north of Thailand about 6 hours from Bangkok. Hot and humid, must be hell in the wet season. I'm going to keep this brief but have written a journal approaching 40 pages of notes so far and taken around 2000 photos in the first week.

Having a fantastic time. People are beautiful and the groups we have been with have also been great. Last week was spent with a bunch of Aussies and one Canadian in the west of the country. Had our farewell dinner with that group last night which is always sad and have commenced the journey this week with a whole new group of people - 4 Aussies, 3 girls from the UK, one from Chicago and a swiss couple.

Tomorrow we are on a bike ride around the ruins of the ancient Thai capital of Sukhotai and after that head up to the Chiang Mai area for a few days. Couldn't get into Ko Samet so have booked internal flights and 4 days down at Krabi. Connecting flight takes us back to the International Airport in Bangkok at 4pm on Thursday of next week before catching the flight back home at 9pm arriving back in Melbourne at 9am on Friday.

Highly recommend travelling with Intrepid. We've got a great local tour guide who is absolutely lovely and we've been lucky enough to have her again this week. Everything has run like clockwork and we have enough spare time to go exploring or chill if we want to. This is not a 5 star tour so we are in guest houses with squat toilets in some cases and travelling on local transport which has been a great way to experience the country. I don't think I'd want to travel any other way.

I look forward to posting more when I get back and have really missed all of you blogging buddies.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Confucius say....

I'll start this with a very corny joke -

Confucius say man who run naked through turnstile at airport on way to Bangkok.

And that's exactly where I'm off to tomorrow, fully clothed and uninjured I might add. The trip has been booked with Intrepid Travel.

So I'll be absent for almost three weeks arriving back in Melbourne on Friday 22nd February. The itinerary is below. It will be my first taste of Asia and I'm really looking forward to it. Hopefully it will be the first of many trips with Intrepid and I look forward to writing about it on my return, with plenty of photos of course.

The trip is $850 Australian for 14 days and that's incredible value. Browsing their website there are tours upwards of 80 days for example Beijing to Bali $A4435 plus a local payment of $1350 US. That's around $A6000 for nearly three months of travel, pretty good I reckon, but that one will have to wait for long service leave.

Day 1 Bangkok

The ruling heart of Thailand is Bangkok, home to temples, palaces, floating markets and the frantic pace of a city on the move.

Days 2-3 Three Pagodas Pass

Staggering views await on a journey along the winding road to Sangkhlaburi. Travel through the limestone mountains and forests that are home to the Karen and Mon people and take an elephant ride before stopping off at the historical Three Pagodas Pass.

Day 4 Thong Pha Phum

Learn about the customs, religions and way of life of the Karen and Mon people and wander through the produce market that has remained largely unchanged over the centuries.

Day 5 River Kwai

Make an sobering visit to the Hellfire Pass Museum before taking the infamous Thai-Burma railway to the infamous 'Bridge on the River Kwai'.

Days 6-7 Bangkok

Visit the spectacular Erawan waterfalls and take a dip, try your hand at Thai Cooking or take a kayak for a paddle before returning to Bangkok. Enjoy a stay with a local family in a traditional teak house.

Days 8 Sukhothai

Travel to Thailand's first capital and explore the 12th century ruins by bike. This historical park is dotted with temples, lakes and beautiful gardens.

Day 9 Lampang

See the wooden temple at Wat Phra That Lampak Luang and admire the inspiring murals or step back in time and be chauffeured around town by horse cart. This is the only town in Thailand that still uses this transport. For a bit of indulgence head down to the local herbal sauna for some pampering.

Days 10 Elephant / Homestay

Watch elephants at work and play before jumping aboard one for a ride through the forest. Say goodbye to our majestic friends and spend the night in a remote village to learn about hilltribe crafts and rural Thai life.

Days 11-13 Chiang Mai

Fabulous temples await in Chiang Mai and there is ample time to take a cooking class, bamboo raft down the river or hire a bike and cycle off into the countryside.

Day 14 Bangkok

Return to Bangkok for last minute shopping and sight seeing at the end of an incredible journey.

I'm not sure if I'll get the chance to post during the trip but if I get the chance I'll give a quick update.