15 August 1985

Letter: Just Before Furlough

Letter 15 / 8 / 85

We are enjoying our rest! So much space here - wish we could transport this big old house up to the island. The weather in Townsville this time of year is delightful - cool, clear and sunny. The kids are enjoying the two little boys who live next door (they are about 6 and 8). Their dad (no mum) gave us a huge colour TV (in working order). He's a bit of an electronics wizz - fixes TVs and gets landed with spare ones occasionally - he has three right now. So we are learning to sit back from it instead of pressing our noses against it like we have to do with our 5"screen TV!

The blood test results show that Alison, James and Peter all have/had hepatitis, not Jo and I. Peter's doing well now. Even manages long walks - but he's learning his limitations. There suddenly comes a point where he gets deeply tired. The only food he can't stand to think of now is crayfish mornay - that was the last thing he had before getting sick.

We've had a roo-bar put on the car - we are not very impressed though, bit of a shoddy job. Peter's fixing on a 'spottie' - we plan to do a bit of night-driving (when the kids will be asleep).

Alison went to the dentist yesterday. She was sooo good. She just lay there perfectly still and didn't complain at all. The dentist was really impressed. I was having such a lot of pain myself, I actually made an appointment to have a tooth pulled. But a couple of hours before my appointment I got the bright idea to see a doctor first - I persuaded a doctor to fit me into his busy schedule. Sure enough - retracted ear drum. So I cancelled the appointment at the dentist's with great relief. Things are slowly improving now.

Kids are getting rather obstreperous, time to give them a bit of full attention. James usually ends up having some private time with me after the others are in bed at night. Peter just sleeps ...

01 August 1985

Letter: Half-Way House

Letter 1 / 8 / 85

A whole week in Townsville and this is my first chance to sit down and write.

Peter is actually up and about on his own today - he and James have gone to the hospital for more blood tests and I'm 'home' with the girls.

No place for us to live in Cairns - hotels and motels wouldn't have us with my yellow husband! The Baptist Church here in Townsville let us use this "1/2 - way - house" for ex-cons, people on the run / in trouble etc. Its a huge old place with built-in verandahs all around, masses of doors (our bedroom has 5 doors, three to verandahs and two to the main room!) Big and airy, ideal for Peter to convalesce and kids to run around.

Peter's much better now - couldn't even keep water down ust before we left the island. He's still very weak, tires easily, and has to be very careful what he eats. But at least he's not quite as yellow as he was. His eyes especially were a very vivid, startling yellow. So far the only test results we've had show that Peter and James both have/had hepatitis, but no mention of type or intensity, and tests for the girls are not back yet.

I'm making another desperate attempt to get Alison off the bottle - she has developed a hole in her front tooth. She has a very 'crowded' little mouth. We are seeing a dentist on Monday.

Jo has cut her eighth tooth at last. She's standing up a lot these days, without holding on, but no steps yet. She has a terrible temper. And this week here in Townsville she has developed a 2am play-time - as if I'm not tired enough already with a sick husband and three small kids and doing all the cooking, cleaning, shopping and driving around ...

I've just been filling in forms for James to do some pre-school by correspondance. So far all we have are some vague ideas and stuff about "everyday play' (sand, mud, water etc). We are looking forward to the arrival of the "equipment pack" (paints etc). Hopefully there will be things to do now and when we start travelling south for furlough - he's so ready for school. He is so confident these days. We go to the park and suddenly he's the "big kid" who can make the merry-go-round work and jump on and off again without falling.

I'm sitting on the front doorstep - not like on Murray where I always sit in the shade. The nights are very cold here (9degrees) but the days are really pleasant, like spring in Perth.