Most of the photos in the gallery below were taken in 2003 by  Andrew, myself, or a day Carer back when Old Sydney Town was still open. There are a few taken there of us in the stocks and in the bullocky yard and of Andrew taking part in the street theatre. It was back when I was getting Respite hours from ER&R and on this particular day I think we had banked some hours so that we could take the trip and had got permission for Andrew to come too.

Many of these were  taken by Carers while on Respite hours, the remainder by Andrew and I on our days out.

There is one place I really would like to revisit and that is the Symbio Wildlife Park, I have checked and it is wheelchair accessible and so accommodates my current method of transport, though I doubt I shall never see the inside of the Ferris wheel at Olympic Park during the Easter Show again.

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Cataracts + surgery + Cornea + transplants

Redirected from page on Vision


Simply put, a cataract is a “clouding” of the lens in your eye. The lens, located just behind the iris, or the coloured part of your eye,
works like the lens of a camera. It picks up images, then focuses the lights, colours, and shapes on the retina – the transmitter located at the back of your
eye that sends the images to your brain.



Normal lens versus cloudy lens


CATARACT SURGERY – this link takes you   through to Eye health Northwest.
Where the answers to most of  your questions regarding cataracts can be

Corneal transplantation
What is the cornea?
The cornea is the transparent tissue on the front part of the eye. Not only is it important for the structural integrity of the eye, but its curvature and clarity helps the eye focus. A healthy cornea is required for normal vision. Diseases and injuries of the cornea are an important cause of blindness in our community.

“What is corneal transplantation?
A corneal transplant is the way of removing your damaged cornea and replacing it with a healthy cornea from the eye of a suitable donor. The donor will be a person who has (or whose family has) given consent for their corneas to be used for medical purposes after their death. The donor cornea is thoroughly checked and prepared to ensure there is no possibility of it being infected.

Monofocal Wavefront Lens


Stereotactic Radiosurgery



Follow Up


Slide Show

On Tuesday, 11 December 2001 I had Stereotactic Radiosurgery At  the Prince of Wales Hospital My tumour was not suitable for treatment by surgery as the site was in close proximity to important brain structures; previous treatment was Endoscopic stereotactic resection of pituitary tumour the Surgeon was Dr Kwok, Dr Havas and Dr Jeffree Date: Tuesday, 22 May 2001 I had a single high dose of radiation in one day as my lesion was less than 3 cm in size although on the Pituitary gland is was far enough away from the optic (visual nerves).  The surgery was done as an out patient; I was wide awake during the entire procedure. Although the risk of serious damage does exist, these are usually less than 5% as much lower dose of radiation is given to the surrounding brain.  The Disadvantage is the benefit can take weeks to months to show although the lesion should not grow during that time. The Procedure: I had A brief (MRI) scan (10 mins) a week prior to the treatment.

Fitting The Frame was the worst part of the hole procedure After having a local anaesthetic into the skin, the frame was attached to my skull bone and remained there  for 9 hours to allow for the Planning to take place

While the frame looks scary,” it is made of a lightweight alloy that only weighs a few kilograms.

here with the Frame insitu and Andrew is asleep

With ring on  my head I had a CT scan enabling the doctors to determine the exact co-ordinates  as the Treatment relies upon developing co-ordinates, to show exactly where my lesion is and important brain structures are  the metal ring is a reference plane. The frame can be seen on the imaging equipment and provided Radiosurgery staff with an exact set of coordinates so that the lesion or tumour is targeted precisely.

Top Treatment

My head was immobilized though I could move everything else if I so wanted

The Radiosurgery was the shortest component of the procedure only taking 40 minutes. The head of the Linear Accelerator  moved across my head while the X-Ray beam zeroed in on the target (I Hope). The Treatment was divided into  segments with the table I was on being moved to a different position for each segment.  After the treatment the head ring was taken off, by unscrewing the pins and I was able to go home with no  immediate side effects bar a sore head. Top Follow Up My Follow Up  be done by referring specialist Doctor  R Smee, Doctor B Kwok, Doctor A Steinbeck,  Doctor Dudley O’Sullivan, and My GP Doctor Ross Price. This will range from blood tests for pituitary hormones and scans of the tumour and the pituitary gland. Top Information:

Details regarding this treatment can be obtained by contact with one of the members of the team – (02) 9382 2539.


Slide Show

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These were taken on 11th December 2001 by the staff in the Radiology Dpt. Prince of Wales hospital.



Transsphenoidal Surgery to remove my pituitary adenoma.

Redirected from the Pituitary Page

This information is abstracted from the website of the American Cancer Society

Surgery for pituitary tumors

The main treatment for many pituitary tumors is surgery. How well the surgery works depends on the type of tumor, its exact location, its size, and whether it has spread into nearby structures.

Transsphenoidal surgery: This is the most common way to remove pituitary tumors. Transsphenoidal means that the surgery is done through the sphenoid sinus, a hollow space in the skull behind the nasal passages and below the brain. The back wall of the sinus covers the pituitary gland.

For this approach, the neurosurgeon makes a small incision along the nasal septum (the cartilage between the 2 sides of the nose) or under the upper lip (above the upper teeth). To reach the pituitary, the surgeon opens the bony walls of the sphenoid sinus with small surgical chisels, drills, or other instruments depending on the thickness of the bone and sinus. …continue here – American Cancer Society detailed guide to pituitary surgery

My Surgery

On 21st May, I had surgery at the Prince of Wales Hospital here in  Randwick for the

removal of the pituitary tumour. Dr Bernard KwokDr Kwok performed the surgery.

Dr Kwok is one of the most senior neurosurgeons in Sydney. He has maintained a high profile in all facets of neurosurgery, especially surgery for pituitary tumors.  

As a pioneer in neuroendoscopy, he has taught many of the Australian and Southeast Asian neurosurgeons currently practicing this technique.

 Dr. Kwok has appointments at all three on-campus hospitals and is a strong advocate of medical student and registrar training.”

Please read the information contained on the website above, below I have some photos and diagrams.

Intensive care

Picture taken illegally by Andrew 2001

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Art Classes

jessica on Maroubra Beach by Jessica Blair
Jessica on Maroubra Beach by Jessica Blair

Towards the end of 2014 Andrew and I finally joined the Coast Centre for Seniors at Pine Avenue Little BaY where we both enrolled for Acrylic Classes. I had done some painting quite some years ago and it didn’t take me long to remember something of what I had learned and to begin again. We have a wonderfully vivacious teacher and are looking forward to next year’s lessons.

Here is one of my more ambitious works, a self portrait taken from a photograph shot by one of my carer’s from the Junction neighbourhood Centre Maroubra Junction.


The Train Trip and Gold Fever

The train trip


We went on the train trip from Tumut to Batlow NSW. The train is pulled by a diesel
engine with open carriages with a roof, hand rails and wire mesh to stop your esky’s and kids  falling off, although  you sit on benches they are not bolted down.

The trip is one of the steepest and tightest wheel driven train rides in Australia. The trip takes you through paddocks and the train has to stop so that the guard can open and close gates therefore you have plenty of time to look around.

When you start to climb the mountains then you can see the valleys dropping away far below. The views are just so fantastic that you can use a full roll of film in no time at all. So beware, or you will run out of film before the trip is over.

As the train is going around sharp corners, you hear this ear piercing squealing sound and this happens on most of the corners. The guard said it is the wheels dragging around corners, at the corners the tracks are double to help stop derailing.

As you continue to climb, the bush comes right up to the train and brushes the sides of the train so you must keep your hands in.   After a while, you come into orchards that go on for kilometres and you can see fruit picking, in season, then you arrive in Batlow for lunch.

I liked looking at the beautifully coloured birds and blossoms on the fruit trees as we passed by. The fragrance from the blossoms was over powering and as we passed some trees, I was able to grab some flowers to keep for myself.


At Batlow, you can have lunch at the RSL, or you can buy takeaway. Some people take a picnic lunch in an esky with beer, and have a picnic in the park. You have enough time to look around town then it is time to get back on the train.   On the way back to Tumut, the guard has to stay near the emergency brakes so that if the engine brakes fail he can apply the hand brakes to stop the train.

If you stand up to take photos, provided that he sees you the driver will stop the train to make it easier for you.   As we went across a level crossing, a car came racing to beat the train and did not give way to the train.

The train driver applied the brakes and some of the passengers lost their seating and fell on to the floor. The driver later said, “We only missed the car by a few millimeters.”
If you sit on the sunny side of the train, you may get sun-burnt so bring along the sun block. The flies can be bad so remember to bring aeroguard in summer. In fine weather, they run evening trips up to a picnic area for a barbecue. They bring you back just after the sun sets.

Gold Fever

We went camping at Sofala NSW and we camped on the riverbank just up stream from the town. The campsite was level with good green grass and shady trees. The camp was not far from the river so you did not have to carry water too far. It had been raining just before we arrived so the river was running and it was quite deep.

We went looking and found the only wood was on the other side of the river so I waded across with a chain saw and set to work cutting timber into logs. To get the wood across the river we used ropes and then with Tom on one side and me on the other we pulled it across.

We carried the firewood up to camp and stacked it then we had a good stock of wood for the camp. Tom went gold panning for five minutes and when he found a small speck of gold in his pan, he got gold fever!   After he found the gold we could not get him to come out of the river until after sun set.

There was a man working a sluice just up stream and he watched Tom for a while then come down and said. “I am an expert at gold panning!”   He was using a gold sluice with a pump and other equipment although he was working long hours and digging up lots of ground when he showed us his gold there was very little so I said to Tom  maybe he is not be such an expert at all.

One day, we went for a walk down stream to look around at how the other camps were set up. We walked for an hour or so then we walked up a hill until we came to the road and walked along the road back down to camp.   The next day, we went for a walk up the river as we walked along we talked, played, and looked around. We found some mushrooms just up the hill so we picked some to take back to camp to make a meal.

One day we went to Hill End the trip was along a narrow winding gravel road because of the steep drops on one side I had to drive slowly. Then Sandra got carsick so we had to stop and clean her up then back on the road to Hill End.

Hill End is an old gold mining town with narrow streets but many of the old buildings are still standing. We looked around at the old houses, shops, and museum and looked at old mining equipment.

Then we went to the lookout to see the old gold diggings in the valley far below. Then the next day, we had to go home so we pulled the tents down and loaded the cars. Just as we left camp it started to rain and it rained all the way home.

(C) Jessica Blair

Phantom 309

Phantom 309

Phantom 309

 I was out on the West coast, trying to make a buck and things didn’t work out.

I was out on my luck I got sick and tired of roaming around so I started thumbing a ride back East towards my home town miles from nowhere.

The first two days when I figured I’d be home in a week if my luck held out this way.

But the third night I got stranded way out of town on a cold lonely cross road, the rain was falling down, I was hungry and freezing, and then I got a chill when the lights of a big semi topped the hill.

Lord I was sure glad to hear them air brakes come on! climbed in that cab I knew it would be warm.

At the wheel sat a big man weighing about 210 he stuck out his hand and said with a grin, Big Joe’s the name and I told him mine and he said the name of my rig is Phantom 309.

When I asked him why he called his rig such a name he said “Son this old Mack can put them all to shame, ain’t a driver or rig running any line that’s chasing nothing but tail-lights of the Phantom 309”.

Well we talked the better part of the night when the lights of a truck stop came in sight

He said, “I’m sorry Son, this is far as you go cause I got to make a turn just down the road”.

Well he tossed me a dime then he put his rig in low and said, “Have yourself a hot cup on old Big Joe.”

When Joe and his rig went on! In the night in nothing flat, I went inside and ordered me a cup,

I told tire waiter Big Joe set me up, you could hear a pin drop.

It got deadly quiet, the waiters face turned kind of white, “Well did I say something wrong? I said with a halfway grin. He said, “No this happens every now and then, every driver knows Big Joe well son, let me tell you what happened about ten years ago at the cross roads, tonight where you flagged him down there was a bus load of kids coming from town and they were right in the middle.

When Big Joe tops the hill it could have been slaughter but he turned his wheel well, Joe lost control and went into a skid he gave his life to save that bunch of kids and there at the crossing was the end of the line for Big Joe and Phantom 309.

But every now and then some hiker will come by like you, Big Joe will give them a ride.

Here have: anther cup and forget about the dime, keep it as a souvenir from big .Joe and Phantom 309.

Tom Waits