Monday, 26 September 2011

Why Cameron is No Ordinary Kid - Part 47

It was time to remove Cameron's main line but it wasn't as simple as pulling the tube out of Cameron's body. We had to return to ICU in case something went wrong.

It was really strange returning to ICU and it didn't feel comforting at all. I was on edge because a procedure which seemed so simple was being treated with such importance that I was scared for Cameron. It was once again one of those situations where there seemed to be a lot of people and I was on the edge looking in. It was a little reminiscent of the emergency department the day Cameron fought to stay live.

Accompanied by nurses and a doctor I carried Cameron to the ICU and after meeting an anaesthetist, another doctor and a nurse I laid Cameron on a bed in the middle of the ICU. I looked around and noted how busy and full the ICU was and how the parents were all watching us and wondering what our story was.

Before starting the procedure the plan was to put Cameron to sleep and you would think that wouldn't have been too hard since he was in the habit of sleeping most of his day away. But Cameron would not go to sleep and it didn't matter how much sleep inducing medication he was given - he refused to sleep. Eventually the anaesthetist looked at me and said I'm really sorry but I can't give him anymore, it's too dangerous. After much discussion amongst the staff it was decided that the procedure would go ahead with Cameron wide awake

Thankfully everything went smoothly and the line came out without a problem. Surprisingly quickly we were heading back to the ward.

This was a very significant day, my son was finally free of everything that reminded us of his brush with death. He was free and normal again. I didn't have to dress him carefully to allow for any tubes or attachments. I could hold him comfortably and not worry about hurting him. He was all mine again.

The only negative of this joyous rebirth was that the two of us were on our own. We had no one to show or tell. We cuddled and then everything went back to normal - Cameron went to sleep.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Cameron Loves Books


It's true, Cameron really does love books. He loves books to death and it breaks my heart.

From before birth Cameron has had books. We love reading in our house and I presumed our love would be handed down to our children. I sold children's books when Cameron was born so my already large collection of children's books was made even larger with my sample kit. I had cloth books, bath books, board books - big and small, beautiful picture books and children's novels.

We started reading to Cameron when he was a baby and he loved reaching out to the pictures and trying to grasp the pages. He decided that reading the newspaper was also lots of fun.


While still in hospital after developing Pneumococcal Meningitis people brought us books for Cameron and we read them to him in an effort to awaken his brain and engage with him.


Eventually over time his love of books and all things print returned and I was so pleased. I would sit and read to him and enjoy that cuddly joy of sharing a book. However on reflection Cameron did show me very early on, before he got sick, what he would probably do to books once I left him loose with them on his own.


Yep, he started to rip them and destroy them. This started in earnest about the age of three to four. His desire to destroy all things paper was not helped by his teachers insistence on teaching him how to rip paper. It took years to get people to understand that Cameron didn't need to practise this skill in fact he should never be allowed to remember this skill. But over and over again we would have to tell therapists and school staff that Cameron's fine motor skills, when it came to ripping, were very well developed.

I threw away books and more books and more books. I would try taping and repairing but to no avail. He would just rip them apart again. Anything made out of paper was in danger so you never left the newspaper, forms, catalogues, magazines, birthday cards, wrapping paper, novels or even board books. Cameron didn't discriminate - he loved them all to death.

It broke my heart to throw books away so I removed all books and Cameron wasn't allowed near a book unsupervised. Our children's books sat on the book shelves in pristine condition untouched mostly. But that broke my heart too. Every now and then I'd think - he's out grown that stage, he'll be okay now and I'd put books on the shelves for him to reach. Within days as I binned more beautiful books I regretted my decision and removed the books that had survived, in whatever state they were in.

Lots of people gave Cameron books that had electronic buttons for sounds and music and he loved them - too much. I put only bath books and cloth books on the shelf. He out grew them if he didn't destroy them. I put out only board books and still he pulled them apart and ripped them.


All books went away again, until recently I looked at the board books and decided that there was no point having them sitting on the book shelf. But this time I told myself they will be ripped and destroyed and they will end up in the bin. Let them go. Very hard for someone who loves books so much I'd be in heaven working in a children's book shop. I only gave him board books and already his shelf has gone from full to less than half full.


I've decided books are for enjoying and Cameron really is enjoying his books, just not in the way I had always presumed he would. He does sit and look at them, he particularly loves pictures of cars, he loves to lift a flap and discover the hidden picture and he still loves electronic books that make exciting noises. So for now he can enjoy what is left of our board book collection. After that .......... I don't think I can bring myself to part with our picture books. I'll just have to replenish our board book collection and keep putting books onto his ipad, he can't rip those one's up.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Special Saturday - Special Memories



My goodness, what a world of choice. How do I choose just one special memory, there are lots and lots and lots.

Cameron's birth is forever a special memory but it somehow doesn't belong in our story of special needs because he didn't have them then in the sense that we use the words.

The day he stood up and walked across his third birthday party and nobody even noticed for a few seconds. That is a very special memory. But there is a lovely special memory bouncing around in my mind that always puts a smile on my face.

In the effort to get Cameron's muscles to strengthen for the purpose of independent movement and ultimately walking we endured hours and hours of physiotherapy. I say we because it wasn't only Cameron. He lay there and willed his muscles to move but it was the physiotherapists and myself who physically moved his body repeatedly to show his muscles what they should be doing. We strengthened his muscles and taught his brain how his body was supposed to behave.

We went swimming twice a week in a hydrotherapy pool and went to physiotherapy twice a week. We worked at home every day  and included things like Riding for the Disabled (horseriding) to our weekly activities to try and get his body moving and strong.

While we were in the hospital early intervention program we had a lovely physiotherapist who we were very attached to. She had been with us from when Cameron was just out of intensive care and would even pop in to visit when she heard we'd been readmitted to hospital.

As with all therapists the day finally came for her to leave the hospital for greener pastures and we felt so attached that we gave her a thank you/farewell gift. We gave her a little miniature, dolls house sized, coffee table.

I know you have read that wondering what on earth I am talking about but she opened her gift and burst out laughing. She knew exactly why I'd given it to her.

As Cameron's body started to strengthen he began to move about as younger children do and pull himself up on furniture. Then he started to climb furniture and his balance improved enough that he could stand for a short time without assistance. As he became stronger and braver he discovered the coffee table and he started to walk around it and then climb up on to it. He thought sitting on the coffee table was wonderful and would laugh and giggle with his huge infectious, cheeky grin.

One day he combined all his new found skills. He climbed the coffee table and stood up. Once he did it once there was no stopping him and he thought it was the best thing. He would stand on the coffee table with his arms out stretched for balance, like he was standing on a surf board, and because of his wobbliness he really did look like he was surfing. He thought he was so clever and I would often walk into the room and find him up there having the time of his life.

His physiotherapist and I often talked about Cameron surfing the coffee table and she thought it was the cutest thing and thus our parting gift was a little coffee table to remind her of our surfing Cameron and how far we had come. He couldn't walk but he could surf!

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This blog post is part of the awareness raising campaign - Special Saturday - raising awareness of people living with special needs around the world.

Please join the cause by joining the facebook page - http://www.facebook.com/SpecialSaturday
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Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Why Cameron is No Ordinary Kid - Part 46

I don't recall exactly how long I was in room three before we had to move again but it wasn't long. This time we moved to room one. Next stop the front door.

I was now facing a brick wall which was really strange and I was at the far end of the corridor so I had no idea what was going on and felt extremely isolated. You could hear yourself think down this end of my new world. That wasn't such a good thing because now I had no distractions and the reality of my new life really hit hard.

Having learnt from the previous move I made this transition even quicker and was sitting in my new room completely organized in no time. Again Cameron slept through the whole thing because he still had his days and nights back to front.

Moving rooms can be amusing because staff come to find you and you've disappeared. You watch them looking really puzzled and then consulting the main board to figure out where you've gone. The flip side of that is sitting in your room and having a total stranger waltz in full of confidence and then suddenly stop and stare at you quizzically because you're the wrong person.

Our new room echoed more than the others and this made my nights worse than ever before. Cameron became even more agitated at night and because we were now down at the end of the corridor the staff didn't seem to notice that I wasn't getting any sleep. We also had fewer observations throughout the day because his general health had improved and he was no longer in danger of dying.

Every night, night after night, Cameron refused to sleep or lay quietly whilst I tried to sleep. I would try putting him into bed with me and he would scream in my ear. He screamed if I stood by him and tried to comfort him in his cot. I was so tired that I tried to sleep standing up with my head resting on the rails of the cot but of course that didn't work. We tried sitting in chairs in various locations around the room with lights on and lights off. I would hold him pacing the room and willing him to understand that I was trying to comfort him but it just didn't work.

I would start off with a calm, soothing voice and all the sympathy in the world but the sound of his cry echoing around the room drove me slowly into a dark place. I couldn't handle it and I had to have the door closed because his cry would wake up the other babies. Eventually after I had tried everything  I would place him in his pram for his own safety because if I was holding him I feared what I would do and I could feel my grip tightening as I became more and more desperate for sleep. In my desperation I even lectured him because there was nobody else for me to talk to and I'd lost my grip on reality.

Sometimes I would contemplate various ways to make him quiet and I am not proud of those thoughts but I am proud of myself for putting him down and turning my back because that was the only way both of us were going to survive.

I just wanted/needed sleep and I wanted/needed peace and quiet. My mind kept flashing back to that other baby who had come into the ward with the same cry as Cameron because his mother had shaken him. My heart started to weep for her because I now knew how easy it would be for me to be that mother. That was when I learnt the lesson to never ever judge anybody, no matter how bad it looks like they've behaved. You do not know the circumstances.

As this nightly trauma continued I also was feeling deeply confused because I was so grateful to still have Cameron alive and I loved him so much but I wanted him to stop crying, I didn't love his behaviour. During the day I would cuddle and hug him and at night we would glare at each other from a safe distance.

Now many years down the track I know that Cameron was suffering from horrendous headaches and the world had become a hugely confusing place for Cameron but nobody explained that to me in fact everybody treated him like a normal baby and I felt like an incompetent mother. People behaved like this was how Cameron always behaved but this wasn't my Cameron, this wasn't my baby, he was nothing like my baby and the reality that my baby was gone hit harder than ever.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Why Cameron is No Ordinary Kid - Part 45

As you know this story took place before everyone had at least one mobile phone tucked away in their pocket or handbag. I was forced to make out-going phone calls on the public phone in the main corridor of the hospital with no privacy or receive in-coming calls on a phone in the passage of the ward, again with no privacy and a time limit.

Only immediate family or country friends were allowed to have their phone calls put through to the ward so you can imagine the frustration of our city friends. Many tried to get through but were always stopped and forced to leave a message.

One friend however did get through and boy did I get in trouble. My friend worked at another hospital and she phoned from work. When asked where she was calling from she gave the name of the hospital and was put through. I don't know if my phone calls were listened to but later in the day I was summonsed to the ward desk like a naughty school girl being summonsed to the principals office and I was told off for my friend lying and for being put through.

Note: Don't bother trying to trick the desk staff at the children's hospital they will find out and secondly for the record - my friend didn't lie. She really does work at the hospital she just wasn't phoning in a professional capacity but they didn't ask her why she was calling. And lastly, why was it me who got told off? I didn't put her through.

I have found my collection of phone messages that everyone left me. Some are matter of fact and some are business like because it was family organizing things but mostly they are lovely messages of support and care mixed with sadness and despair at their inability to get hold of me.

I also have cards and letters filled with beautiful words of love and support. It shocks me to look back and see who took the time to stop and hand write a note of support. I have flattened balloons, cards from floral arrangements and all kinds of little momento's tucked away to remind me of the incredible support we received as our lives turned upside down and nothing made sense anymore.

We are very lucky to have such beautiful, supportive people in our lives and even though some come and go the ones who matter stay.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Special Saturday - Embarrassing Moments


Well, I think it can be said that all children embarrass their parents at some point. Some more than others. To be honest, Cameron isn't too embarrassing to be around because he enchants everyone and they forgive him for just about anything he does. Although sometimes that can be a bit embarrassing. I used to say that one of our friends would even forgive him if he burnt down his house.

Over the years Cameron has done all number of embarrassing things like completely untuning a friends TV and media equipment and doing such a good job that it took two weeks to fix it. Another friends house he knocked the TV off it's cabinet disconnecting the aerial cable which then slid into the wall cavity and down to the bottom floor of their two story house. Another long wait for reconnection.

Just lately he has been refusing to get off the public bus during his class excursions and his sole purpose for staying on the bus is to look at pretty girls. I feel really sorry for his assistant who is gorgeous herself so he doesn't need anyone else to stare at. I think he might have a thing for blondes.

Cameron has a few little quirks that can be embarrassing like when he reaches out and grabs people as they walk past in shopping centres or touches women's name badges on their chest or the necklace resting in their cleavage. Stopping and shaking total strangers hands when we're out and about can be embarrassing especially when he then refuses to let go and I have to pry him off.

When you enter a shop he always wants to make contact with the shop assistant and never wants to leave. We have one particular cafe that he is very hard to drag away from whether we've bought anything or not. He tries to climb over the counter to touch the shop assistants who he has decided he really likes.

He used to have a habit of joining other picnics or cafe tables when he thought that family still had food left or it looked better than what we were feeding him. Imagine the surprised look on the faces of the newly adopted family. Worse still was when he'd walk past a table of empty plates with scraps and grab himself a chip or three - yes I do feed my children!

He went through a phase of getting into or trying to get into other people's cars and still today if you lose him you should check the cars. About a month ago I found him in a strangers car at horseriding. Thankfully they didn't mind but it was embarrassing.

However despite all of these little things I still live in fear of public vomiting. Cameron has been vomiting in public since he initially got sick with Meningitis and it only stopped after we found our Angel - our Chiropractor.

Vomiting is embarrassing because it always catches you unawares and people don't know how to react or how to help you.

The worst vomits were food related. One night we were sitting in a crowded restaurant and Cameron had already made us shrink by standing in the middle of the restaurant right in front of the musician and clapping loudly with enthusiasm for his efforts. No he was not standing where an audience would stand he was standing right in the middle of the passage where people were walking to get their food and to leave.

Back at the table without any warning he vomited a stomach full of food straight into his plate. You should have seen the table recoil. It pretty much ended the meal and we very quickly realized the impact it would make on the other guests so everyone threw their serviettes over the offending pile and sat staring at each other. Having to catch the eye of a waiter and then explain the situation was embarrassing especially when the waiter then had to suffer removing the plate. I could go on and describe the odour but I won't for fear of you losing your stomach contents.

That day became a distant memory after the cafe incident. I was having a lovely day out with a girlfriend and our four children. Cameron once again did his party trick vomiting all over everyone's food this time. This triggered my friends son to start vomiting too. As I sat for a second trying to comprehend what had just happened to my lunch, which I'd only taken a few bites of, my girlfriend jumped up and ran. She's not good with vomit so I was left with four very upset children, vomit all over the table, me and the kids and nobody to help. The young waitress offered me a serviette!

That was embarrassing as I stood in the cafe trying to calm everybody down, clean everybody up including myself, apologize to the cafe owner for the mess we had just created, pay and try and leave with as much dignity as possible. Luckily I love my girlfriend and we can now laugh about the day she ran off and left me covered in vomit with all our kids because Cameron vomited.

These days I don't get as embarrassed as I used to. I walk arm in arm with my fifteen year old son across the crowded high school oval past all the teenagers and I hold my head high because really what I'm doing is not nearly as embarrassing as those teenagers think.

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This blog post is part of the awareness raising campaign - Special Saturday - raising awareness of people living with special needs around the globe.

Please join the cause by joining the facebook page - http://www.facebook.com/SpecialSaturday
Following on twitter - @Specialsat and retweeting hashtag - #specialsaturday
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Friday, 16 September 2011

Special Saturday - Has Your Child With Special Needs Changed Your Life?

Regular readers of my blog know the answer to this question. There is only one answer - YES!!!!! It would be easier to list what is still the same in our lives than list what has changed because almost nothing is the same.



The day before Cameron got sick we lived in a little mining town in a unit with our name on a waiting list to move in to our first family home. My Marvellous Man was working in his field of choice and had his eye on his future while working towards it. I was teaching part time Kindergarten and loving it. I was  setting goals for my career and working towards them. At the same time I was also working two party sales jobs and doing really well. (Although, I'm a lousy recruiter - sales is my thing.)

We had money in the bank and an investment house rented so we could secure our future. We had plans for our future and the thought in the back of our minds that we would grow our family again in a few years.

We were deliriously happy and content with life. We were so excited and happy to be parents at last and our baby was perfect as all babies are in the eyes of their parents. Our families were supportive and we saw them as often as we could. Our friends were fantastic and we had a great social life. We had holidays and fun, time for ourselves and time for each other. We didn't foresee a real problem in the world for us.



In the blink of an eye it all changed. My career was gone, our home was gone, our son as we knew him was gone. Our money disappeared very quickly and then the investment house was sold along with our second car. My Marvellous Man became a fly in fly out worker which is not the best arrangement for our family and it took a year and a big pay cut for him to find a job so we could be reunited as a family permanently. I became a single parent for a year - not something I would choose willingly, it's too hard.

We lost friends, our freedom and our sense of peace and contentment. We didn't know what was going to happen from one day to the next and life became all about stress and timetabling.

However despite all that not all change is bad. My Marvellous Man and I have changed as people and even though I believe we were good people before Cameron got sick I think we are better people  now. We think about life in a much deeper way and have an even greater compassion for others.

Because of what happened to Cameron it was eight years before we had our second child, not the planned three or four years. If we hadn't waited eight years we wouldn't have My Little Angel and although I'm sure we would have loved the child we would have had I'm not sure that we would have appreciated that child in quite the way we appreciate My Little Angel. Plus, to be honest, I think she is supposed to be in our lives to teach us a few more lessons we've missed along the way. She challenges me in ways I never imagined and teaches me that Cameron hasn't used up every challenging behaviour in the book - shockingly there are still more!

You are moulded by the journey of your life and because my journey has taken an unexpected path I have had to search my soul to study my beliefs deeply and to assess my values and what I cherish the most in life. I am truly grateful for the growth I have made as an individual, I know what I believe and I know what I believe is important and if anything that is what Cameron has changed the most about my life. I am very lucky.

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This blog post is part of the awareness raising campaign - Special Saturday - raising awareness of people living with special needs around the globe.

Please join the cause by joining the facebook page - http://www.facebook.com/SpecialSaturday
Following on twitter - @Specialsat and retweeting hashtag - #specialsaturday
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Friday, 9 September 2011

Why Cameron is No Ordinary Kid - Part 44

By now the visitors had dwindled to just a few and the time had come for my mother to go home. She had put her life on hold long enough. It was so hard to say goodbye. My mum had been there for me since day three of this journey and I had been able to rely on her every day to feed me lunch, sit and listen to me no matter what I babbled on about, wash my clothes and get me everything I needed - you know those little things you can't live without like shampoo and toothpaste.

I am incredibly grateful to my mum for putting her life on hold like she did - I was very lucky.

Life became even more repetitive - the same thing day in and day out. Days blended into others and at times it was difficult to remember what day of the week it was. I didn't follow the time on a clock I followed the routine of the ward. I knew what time it was by the nurses and doctors routines. I knew when shifts started and finished and some of the doctors were like clockwork with their rounds - just not usually mine. The cleaners were always on time and the pathologists were predictable. There was also the routined delivery of meals with bottles of milk, porridge for breakfast and a repetitive and uninspiring mince meat dish that the poor older babies were served every lunch and dinner. I wonder if the menu has changed after all these years?

Long hours spent on my own day after day was really boring and consequently I watched a lot of TV. I did puzzle books, read magazines and did a lot of people watching. Mind you, people watching was difficult now I was further down the passage. My room was really tidy and I became exact about where everything belonged - there was nothing else to occupy my mind. Cameron was still sleeping all day so I didn't even have my baby to interact with, occupy and enjoy. With Mum gone I did have to get my own lunch but that only occupied about ten minutes every day.

Generally everyone was too busy or too professional for a personal chat. Our therapists were friendly but kept a professional distance. Our doctors cared but were very busy. Some of the cleaners would make a comment or two but generally they were very quiet. Thankfully there were a few nurses who were kind enough to stop and have a chat when they could. Chatting about a favourite TV show or where you grew up really helped to break the boredom and make life a little normal.

I was feeling very isolated and with Mum gone I started to internalize more of my feelings, fears and joys. My sense of doing this all alone grew stronger.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Special Saturday - What is Your Child's Greatest Achievement?


As I sat here contemplating what my son's greatest achievement was one realization drowned out all my other thoughts. I had sat down to write a post about what Cameron went through to learn to walk and how that changed his life and ours. I'd also contemplated writing about how Cameron communicates despite his inability to speak.

I  thought about writing about his amazing achievements when it comes to his fine motor skills and how these skills are still improving, which we had not expected or I could have written about how Cameron touches people's lives.

However it has occurred to me that there is one achievement that I think outstrips all of these amazing achievements. One thing that makes everything else pale into insignificance.

Cameron's greatest achievement is being alive!

Despite the miracle of conception and birth I can not remember one time that I sat with my young baby in my arms and pondered his future thinking his greatest achievement in life would be staying alive but here we are almost sixteen years later and that truly is his greatest achievement. Without life nothing else matters.

Over the last fifteen and a half years Cameron has fought to stay alive so many times that I have lost count. I really don't care if he never learns to talk or use the toilet because at least he is here with us and we are sharing our journeys through life together. I can not imagine my life without him despite my shared journey being nothing like I imagined.

I don't know why I am the lucky one who got to carry him and now share his journey. I know that the practicalities of life mean that we need to strive to achieve all those other achievements that I was going to write about - an education is important, speech is important, life skills are important but I think we forget how precious life is and how fleeting it can be.

Cameron is strong and he fights hard to stay with us. He could have given up so easily so many times but he doesn't. Does he have a purpose which is unfulfilled? I don't know but I suspect so. I know he makes an impact on people as he crosses their path in life and I hope that he is destined to do so for a very long time to come because the thought of walking through life without him is unbearable.

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This blog post is part of the awareness raising campaign - Special Saturday - raising awareness of people living with special needs around the globe.

Please join the cause by joining the facebook page - http://www.facebook.com/SpecialSaturday
Following on twitter - @Specialsat and retweeting hashtag - #specialsaturday
Reading and following the Special Saturday Blog - http://specialsaturday.org/home/

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Why Cameron is No Ordinary Kid - Part 43

There was a sense of coming home when we landed and I headed back to the hospital. This really was my home now. I felt at home walking back into the hospital but at the same time there was a sense of tension. Did I still have my room?

I walked down the corridor and everyone was busy, some patients had arrived and some patients had left. A few nurses looked up and said hi. I got down to my room and to my relief there was Cameron in his cot, sound asleep of course because the sun was shining. Everything was as I had left it. I was so relieved.

Grannie and Nanna were sitting there and we spent a while catching up on news of my trip and their time looking after Cameron. The Grandmother's had kept their word and done a wonderful job of looking after Cameron while I had been gone, life could now go back to the way it was and it did.

Within the week the Nurse Manager was back in my room telling me that it was time to move. They had a baby coming in that needed our room more than us. I was only moving next door to room three but it was a big upheaval. Everything felt really strange and backwards but it gave me something to do for a day, packing and moving and re-establishing our home. Cameron slept blissfully through the whole thing.

I no longer looked out on the ward desk and I could only see the two rooms either side of me. I now looked out at a wall and saw whoever walked down the corridor. I should have enjoyed the peace and quiet but instead I felt really isolated and lonely.

Moving didn't change my routines. I was still up at 6am to get a warm shower. I had another routine that I'd forgotten about. I kept a supply of linen in my room because quite often the ward would run out and you learnt really early to keep a backlog. Each morning I would check what I needed and restock before the ward woke up and beat me to it. There's nothing worse than being in hospital and not being able to find a clean towel or bed linen when you need it. Every hospital visit since, linen is one of my first priorities after a bed for me.

Why Cameron is No Ordinary Kid - Part 42

Once everything was finished with our home we went to the one and only hotel in town and I dropped off my bag. I wanted to just cuddle up with Michael and try and process everything but he had to go back to work so Michael dropped me off at the school. I felt really alone.

It felt so strange to walk into my workplace after such a big break away. Everyone was really happy to see me and asked about Cameron. I told our story quite a few times that day. The staff organized a morning tea for me to say goodbye.

I felt really nervous walking into my classroom but of course my class were very happy to see me. I spent time with my class which was so nice. They had made me a gift of a gold macaroni photo frame ready for a class photo. We took the class photo which I later put into the frame, it was a very precious memory of a very happy time in my life. Saying goodbye to my children as they headed home was really hard and there were lots of hugs.

Once the children had left I set about collecting all my teaching resources, it took a while. When I was finished I faced the hardest part of my day - walking out the door knowing that I wasn't coming back and this was the end of my teaching days.

To be honest I don't actually remember what else I did that day except that when Michael came home we went and took a look at his new home. A room in the single men's camp. We slept in the hotel that night and I'm guessing we spent the evening with our friends because I probably went home with my girlfriend after school. .

The next day I visited my ceramics group and picked up all my unfinished pieces of work. It was sad to say goodbye to such a lovely group of women who I had loved hanging out with each Wednesday morning.

A group of Mum's that I knew had organized to get together for lunch and invited me. I remember sitting on the back step of the house with the few precious photos I had of Cameron in hospital and showing them to people while telling our story over and over again and answering lots of questions. I didn't feel part of the group and I didn't feel like people really understood what we had been through or what we were going through. It felt like an exaggerated story and it wasn't possible that things were as bad as they actually were.

Because they couldn't see Cameron I don't think they could truly comprehend that he was not how he was the last time they saw him and surely he would improve and get better again.

I didn't belong in the town anymore and all my loose ends were tied up. It was time to leave. I was booked to fly out that afternoon and my friend was booked on the same flight. Michael drove us out to the airport. I didn't want to leave Michael but at the same time I was feeling anxious about Cameron. I wanted to be in two places at the same time. My feelings were all over the place so it was really lucky that I had my friend to distract me because otherwise I may have cried for the entire flight.

Now that I had said goodbye to my old life and had seen that it was gone with my own eyes my new reality was more real than ever. Plans had to be made.