It has been a very scary time for us in the past several weeks and my humans have been very, very stressy.
Back in early Oct, Paul suddenly had to go to hospital for a strange sickie. He was exhausted all the time and his arms & legs went numb and he was so weak, he could barely lift his left hand up. He had to have lots and lots of yucky tests, like brain MRI & CT scans, blood tests, lumbar punctures, nerve tests, X-rays, etc, etc…while they tried to find out what the sickie was. This took weeks and in the meantime, Paul was just getting worse and worse…
…but finally, they finished all the tests and decided that it wasn’t anything super-scary – like cancer/spinal tumour or multiple sclerosis or other horrible things. Whew. That was a big relief. It was an awful time for my humans during those weeks as they kept waiting for the results of each test…wondering what scary thing it could be…but “not knowing” was also terrible too…
Anyway, the doctors think it was most likely a kind of Auto-Immune Sickie – basically, what happened was that Paul got a virus infection and his body made some antibodies to attack the virus – but then those antibodies started attacking his own nerve cells as well! It doesn’t usually happen – this kind of reaction is very rare. Only about 5 people in 1 million get this reaction every year (about 150 people in Australia each year) – and Paul had to be one of those…talk about bad luck!
Anyway, Paul got some treatment at the hospital and he started getting a bit better…although it is going to take a long, long time now for him to recover. He is now doing Physiotherapy and Hydrotherapy and Acupuncture and lots of other things to try and help his nerve cells repair and regrow.
Hsin-Yi says life seems so horribly cruel sometimes – Paul only decided to become a doctor at 30yrs old and went back to night school and got into medical school as a mature student and then went through all the years & years of training and exams and hard work and on-calls and no sleep…and then all this extra moving around and stressy times we’ve had in the last few years, for his extra training to become a specialist cancer surgeon…and now, finally, after 18yrs, just when he was almost finished…then this had to happen!! (The good news is that this is just a one-off thing that shouldn’t happen again – it’s not a chronic auto-immune disease like MS – so the only worry now is whether the nerve damage is permanent…because of course, as a surgeon, unlike some other jobs, you really need perfect nerve control in your hands.)
But we are trying to stay positive and to keep hoping for the best, even though it’s been quite hard to put on the Brave Face and keep smiling…Hsin-Yi has been trying her best to keep posting happy stuff on my blog and Facebook pages but sometimes she just wants to curl up into a small ball and cry. You can see why she has not been feeling very sociable – which is why we haven’t been visiting any blog friends or socialising much lately.
Well, the other big news I wanted to tell you was about where we’re moving to next year: we’re going to Perth! Yup, we’re heading to Western Australia and that is where we are planning to stay, if Paul can hopefully get his Forever Job there.
To be honest with you, my humans have been very unhappy in Sydney this year and we can’t wait to leave. To get away from the ugly, dirty buildings and graffiti everywhere and narrow, choked roads with awful traffic and psycho neighbour doggies barking-barking all the time & attacking me through the fence every time I go in the garden and the terrible inconvenience of doing anything, going anywhere in Sydney and the ridiculous money paper we’re paying to live in this tiny, run-down, sardine can and people, people cramming everywhere with their rude, careless behaviour and the hours of driving it takes to get out of the city to get anywhere that’s properly”natural” or beautiful, with wide, open spaces (but of course, when you finally get there, you find that everybody else in Sydney had the same idea and a hundred other people are there too…! )
Well, they say a picture tells a thousand words – Hsin-Yi found a photographer called Simon Wright who took these two photos to compare popular inner city beaches in Sydney & Perth – which pretty much sums it up!
Of course, there are some parts of Sydney that are beautiful – the bits downtown & by the Opera House & Harbour Bridge, where all the Tourist Humans go…and of course, we always only show the nice photos on my blog (Hsin-Yi says you can make any place look nice if you know which angles to photograph!)…but “real life” in inner Sydney is not like the beautiful photos at all. And you have to pay SO much money paper to get so little back – compared to other places my humans have lived in.
Oh, Hsin-Yi feels a bit guilty because she knows lots of people love Sydney and think that we’re so lucky to live here – but she just can’t make herself like it. Maybe it’s not a terrible city – but it’s a terrible city for us.
Well, since we can’t go back to New Zealand, my humans have decided that Perth is the place they would like to live in all of Australia. It is much more similar to our beloved Auckland – with a lot less people and lots of wide, open, natural space and beautiful, EMPTY, clean beaches right in the city and lots of blue water all around and a much more relaxed pace of life…and you can get out easily into beautiful, unspoilt countryside all around Perth, within a short drive.
As they say on Western Australia.com:
“Perth is Australia’s only capital city where you can enjoy the beach lifestyle, relax in natural bushland, sample world-class local wines and watch an ocean sunset within just 30 minutes of the city…”
– sure, it might not have as many swanky shops and trendy cafés & bars and”award-winning” restaurants, blah-blah-blah as Sydney and it might be a bit more “backward” and not so “happening” (that’s what people tell us) but my humans don’t care about those kinds of things anyway. We’re pretty boring and like a simple life.
My humans visited Perth one weekend last year, when we were still living in Newcastle, and although it was only a very short visit and they only saw a bit of the city, they really liked the “feel” of the place. Of course, visiting is not the same as living there (Sydney is lovely to visit as a tourist! ) so we’ll still have to see – but we think we will all be much happier in Perth.
In fact, Hsin-Yi’s one wish has always been for me to remain fit & healthy enough to make it to Perth, to that I can finally enjoy life the way I used to back in Auckland – when I had so many beautiful (uncrowded) places to go walking and lots of different (uncrowded, clean) beaches to choose from…
…they’re looking forward to taking me walking in places such as the gorgeous Kings Park & Botanic Gardens in Perth – one of the biggest inner-city parks in the world, bigger even than New York’s Central Park.
And look – doggies are welcome! (Doggies are completely banned from Sydney’s Botanic Gardens – humph! – which is why I haven’t been able to visit & tell you about it on my blog). My humans were delighted to see a sign in Perth’s Botanic Gardens which gave doggies special privileges for once (usually, us doggies are always the 2nd class citizens; the ones banned from everywhere – it was nice to see a sign showing the opposite for a change!…And in Brisbane, we were nearly killed by all the aggressive, psycho cyclists zooming through the parks there…it’ll be nice to walk somewhere where you won’t have to be constantly looking over your shoulder & have cyclists swear at you just because you’re on the path too! ) – and they even saw a doggie enjoying himself at the café there…
…so yes, I hope I will get to enjoy all these things! Our big move is planned for next Jan and I will have to go in the Big Flying Machine again…for 5 hours this time, which is an even longer flight than when we moved over from New Zealand. But don’t worry – I’m a Seasoned Traveller Doggie now!
Well, so paws crossed that Paul gets better and recovers well enough to go back to work soon…and so that we can make our big move to Perth with no problems!