Blog: Why I needed a fresh start


The clocks go forward tomorrow, our paddocks and fields are full of new life, with lambs, calves and spring flowers everywhere, I’m out of hospital and I’ve had a haircut – there was only one thing missing. Time to update the website!

Yes, EatsCooksReads has had a bit of an upgrade. I hope you like the new look – feel free to have a browse, and let me know what you think. Want to see more recipes, or more in the blog? Do you want a bit more food or product news? Let me know – I’ll do my best!

As for me personally – well, I’m out of hospital, and I too have been in serious need of a makeover. The news two weeks ago that I had a life-threatening aneurysm was a shock, to say the least, and it really shook me up. I think because I’d been in hospital for a few operations since the original accident last February, I assumed I’d feel the same way – but I didn’t. This one gave me a hell of a fright, and it’s taken a while to sink in that actually, I’ve had a very lucky escape. Not sure who or what is trying to kill me, but it hasn’t worked yet! I’m back on the crutches, but it won’t be long before I’m fully mobile again. And this time, I hope it’s for good.

I won’t lie – I’ve struggled a bit on occasion over the past fortnight. I was so excited after my last surgery, believing it to be the last. To suddenly find myself back under the knife, not once but twice in a single day, to repair my torn femoral artery, was pretty hideous, and while I have a lot of respect for the nurses and doctors who do an amazing job, when I left hospital I was pretty much abandoned to fend for myself. I was given a date for a follow-up appointment in four weeks’ time – and that’s it. No suggestions of dressing changes, no district nurse to check on my surgery wound; not even a post-surgery ultrasound to make sure the artery is in fact mended. I’m back on crutches, and I’ve been given a bunch of painkillers – enough for me to seriously make a habit of them if I wasn’t careful. And no-one’s checking. I could easily have taken a handful when feeling low.

But, thank goodness, that’s not my way – I’m one of life’s fighters. If it wasn’t for the continued incredible support from my GP surgery and my pain team, however – who are doing way more for me than their job description requires – I would be completely on my own. It’s really made me think: what about those people who don’t have a support network? There are people who have operations like me, but who then go home and literally just have to hope for the best, as there’s no-one there to look after them. If I can get one message out, it would be to ask David Clark, our Minister for Health, to make it mandatory for everyone who leaves hospital after surgery to get at least one check up, to clean and re-dress the wound, and to ensure they are OK. It’s not a luxury; it should be mandatory.

But this lack of follow-up care, and the knowledge that I’m lucky to have people who’ve looked after me, has given me cause to stop and think. And while I occasionally have a ‘why me’, moment, the feeling that’s come through most is gratitude. Yes, I’ve had a few surprises, but at the moment I’m writing this from the comfort of my sofa, with all my limbs (even if one of them isn’t entirely intact – yet), and I still get to kiss my kids, have dinner with my family, and even as of yesterday, manage to take my crazy dog for a walk. There are a lot of people who would do anything to be able to give their family a cuddle just one more time – and while my leg now looks a bit like it’s been attacked by a shark (so many cuts and scars!), it’s still firmly attached to me. I’ve still got a lot of rehab to get through, but I’m OK. After all the knocks, frights and shocks, I’m still standing. And I’m stronger, and more determined to thrive, than ever.

Since leaving hospital, I’ve had my down days for sure, but it’s amazing what will make you feel better! Getting back outside has been a biggie – feeling the sun on my face, and my feet in the sand, always makes me smile. I got my husband Trev to take me to the mall to get a pedicure too – worth it, not just for my fab purple toes, but to see the look on his face when he got as far as the doorway and breathed in the gentle aroma of acetate! He retreated quicker than a vampire faced with a bucketful of garlic. I got my brows done too – a girl always looks better with good eyebrows I reckon. And today, I had a hair cut and colour – and at the end, my hairdresser gave me a ‘sunshine box’ of little goodies, for no other reason than she felt I deserved something nice. Aren’t some people just fantastic!

Enjoy the website’s makeover!