Getting away: not always easy!

Over the last six months, we have managed to get out of town occasionally, for one or two days around dialysis.

Mini Holiday!By around dialysis, I mean that leave for our mini holiday accommodation (usually a hotel about an hour away) straight after dialysis on Wednesday night. We spend the night and have breakfast and a leisurely Thursday morning there, then, around lunchtime, we return for my afternoon dialysis. At the end of dialysis, we go back to the hotel (all in all about a 4 hr round trip). We then spend Thursday night and all of Friday at the hotel (no dialysis Friday) and check out Saturday morning in time for midday dialysis.

Basically, this gives us three nights away, with one (shortish trip) to dialysis in the middle.

Works for us!

 

Healesville

Beautiful Healesville

A couple of weeks ago we did this to go to a flash hotel in Healesville and had a great break.

Healesville swimming pool

Just before my big splash

I even went for a swim in the pool! I haven’t done that for about five years when we went to Bali. Back then it was a private pool attached to our room, so there was skinny dipping. But not this time. Lots of oldies there in bathrobes: a naked body may have caused a heart attack – and not just mine.

The other thing I enjoyed a lot was the breakfast: free and as many courses as you like. For me, that’s gotta be the best part of the stay.

Naturally, we are always on the lookout for a mini holiday.

But they don’t all turn out as expected.

About six months ago I was invited to speak a renal conference in Bendigo (about two hours north) on the consumer’s viewpoint of dialysis.  Julie and I thought about it. It would be a great opportunity for a break: we could go the night before, maybe I even dialyse there and stay another couple of extra nights, for a real getaway. So I said yes.

Then. about two months before to conference, Liam (our no.2 son) who was turning 40, sent out an invitation for all and sundry to go to his birthday party, to be held on Cypress, in the sunny Med (he lives out that way). So our daughter Katherine and her husband asked if we could look after the kids if they went too.

Of course, we said yes.

I wasn’t great timing. It meant we were looking after them on the day I was speaking in Bendigo. No mini holiday now.  We would have to get up early with the kids, drive to Bendigo, I’d talk and drive home the same day.

As the conference approached, I spent more and more time working on the speech, which was playing hard to get. Sometimes a little unwell, cursing that I had accepted, and I even considered weaselling out. Looking after the kids was a good excuse. But Julie encouraged me to stick with it (she can be very persuasive).

Then, two days before the speech, I came home from dialysis with AF (Atrial Fibrillation) and was quite weak and useless. Good excuse not to go? No says Julie, let’s wait and see. The AF went away the next day.

As expected, three days before the conference the kids came to stay. About 4am the morning of the conference, I woke up to the kids crying – there was a blackout and their comfort lights had gone out. We lit a couple of candles. Then I checked our alarm – it had reset to 5am. If the kids hadn’t cried, we may have slept in and missed the conference anyway!

Julie and I both set our phone alarms.

Up about 6am. Organising and shepherding kids, we left about 7am. We arrived with 15 minutes to spare. I checked my notes, sat and waited until the previous speaker finished.

I walked to the lectern and looked at my notes. The first page was missing. Great…

Luckily, I remembered most of what I was to say. After a little heart flutter, all went well.  I delivered my speech, left the stage, and called Julie. She arrived with the kids 10 minutes later and we drove home.

Bendigo from the car

Bendigo from the car

Not the break we’d imagined.

But a week after, I had an email from the organiser. They loved the speech. Lots of praise. Would I like to speak at the next conference, to a larger audience, in June? Only thing, it is in Auckland (New Zealand).

Hmmm. Maybe this could be the Bendigo holiday, done right? I could arrange holiday dialysis for a day or two Auckland. I’d need to be a lot fitter and stronger to travel: working towards this trip could be a good incentive. So I said yes.

I started my first gym session in three months today. I walked on a machine for seven minutes, rode a bike, rolled around on the floor, did some pretty pathetic sit-ups and we went home. Sound like a good start to me.

Now I’m looking forward to NZ!

Getting away on a mini holiday is not always easy, but, with a little thought and perseverance, like life, it can be delightful.

 

Road trip to Adelaide!

Julie has been commuting to her work in Adelaide a few days a week for more than a year now. So, for a change of pace, we decided to start our New Year by driving there together for a working holiday – she would work while I’d be on holiday!

There’s nothing as romantic as a road trip, where we could check out the delights of remote Victorian and South Australian country along the way. When you fly, you leave home, sit in a tube for an hour or so and you are there. On a road trip, the holiday starts as you pull out of your driveway. (more…)

Living life to the full on dialysis – Travel!

Over 70's Aust Cricket Team in whitesLiving a full life on dialysis is not just for a lucky few that somehow stay healthy and energetic between BigD runs.  It’s a state of mind.  Just because I dialyse doesn’t mean I can’t do things.  Simple things like getting out of the house for a while: going for a walk or a coffee with a friend, going to a movie or the football. or walking the dog.

Then for a little more adventure, maybe go somewhere out of town on a non-BigD day: to an art gallery or festival in the country, or a shopping trip somewhere new, or a boat or train trip to see the sights along the way, with a lunch or afternoon coffee as a reward when you arrive.  (more…)

Dialysis travel tips

 

Rockingham

Rockingham Foreshore

I’ve just been interstate for a week.  Julie was doing some work in Perth, and I went along for the ride (Have computer, will work anywhere!).  As with all travel when on the BigD, preparation is key.

 

Firstly, I needed to make sure I could actually get dialysis there.  Second, that I could get dialysis the way I am used to it.  Third, that I had all my meds.  Fourth, that it was easy to get to. (more…)

Dialysis on the road again

 

Martin Place

Martin Place, Sydney

It’s been a couple of weeks since my last post. I’ve been on the move, what with Easter and then Anzac Day and birthday celebrations in distant cities, I have had BigD in more remote units than I have had at my own.  That’s one of the pleasures of being a BigD club member: there are dialysis units and instant friends just about everywhere.

 

Julie and I were in Sydney for her work for the whole Easter/Anzac break, so I dialyzed for five days at Lindfield Diaverum unit. (more…)

Dialysis: perfecting the Mini-Holiday

 

Inverloch

Inverloch, on the coast.

 

December-January are the traditional summer holiday months in Australia.  And very pleasant they are too.  The only hassle is the there is no such thing as a holiday from the BigD: I still need that life-giving treatment.  So taking a holiday during the holidays season needs a little extra planning.

For me, there are two ways to get a break:  1 – take a short trip between sessions and 2 – go somewhere that has a dialysis unit that offers holiday dialysis. (more…)

Dialysis: Back to the future with implantable artificial kidney

Hello and welcome to my first post for the New Year.  I hope you had a good Christmas and celebrated the arrival of 2011 in a style that set the tone for the year ahead.  My New Year was easy-going: we went to see The King’s Speech at the movies on New Year’s Eve, followed by a drive to Falls Creek, Victoria’s biggest alpine resort on New Year’s Day.  We stayed overnight and I was back in time for the BigD the next day.

The King’s Speech was a great movie: fabulous acting by Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush and an inspiring message about how persistence and courage can win you back your life (a familiar theme, and not just for stammerers). (more…)

Dialysis: getting away from it all (or almost all)

Port Douglas. 2jpg

Beautiful Port Douglas

Julie and I have just returned from a week-long holiday at Port Douglas in tropical Far North Queensland (or FNQ to the initiated).  We went for several reasons: chasing the warm weather (going from 12oC Melbourne to 28oC Port Douglas is a pretty good reason); having a break from work, and spending some quality time with our 17-month old grandson (and his parents!). (more…)

Holiday Dialysis in Brisbane – a restful break from the routine

BrisbaneLast week Julie and I went to Brisbane for a short holiday around a long weekend.  As any member of the BigD club knows, this meant some pre-organising.  We decided to go about six weeks ago, which is when I raised it with the Chris, the ever-obliging Manager of my BigD Unit.

There are two dialysis units I know of in Brisbane, one at the Greenslopes Private Hospital and the other at the Wesley Hospital in Auchenflower. (more…)