About zefiart

Blogger, DIY-er, poodle lover, graphic designer, dog groomer, recycler, artist, wonder woman in my spare time.

inspiration – situation not changed

When you’re feeling ok but are stuck in a hospital room waiting to be fixed, you do a lit of browsing on the internet. This morning’s browsing led me to this:

Which then lead me to look up Corita Kent.

I want to print up her rules and have them in my workspace. I already think everything is an experiment and there are no mistakes, but I love her rules.

Going back to watching DIY videos on YouTube.

I really miss having a workshop.

z

still not dead – still in lockdown but lost count

I think I might be sending out change of address cards next week the way this is going. Tomorrow marks three weeks in one hospital or another. I’m so over it.

One thing I can say with 100% certainty is that I am eternally grateful for smart phones. I don’t think I could have made it this long without mine.

I can stay in touch with people on the phone and through the various messaging apps. I have Facebook to while away a few minutes a day. I can, and do, watch Netflix, a lot! I have a few games when I can bare to play them. I have Youtube. I have the Kindle app to read books.

I mean, other than getting out of here, what more could I want?

As for how things are going…. the bile stopped leaking for 2 whole days. I had a special MRI to see what was going on. They believe the loose stone has lodged somewhere and blocked something, causing bile to gather and back up, putting pressure on weak any spots not allowing them to heal.

All I know is that I’m now waiting for a gastroscopic procedure to remove the stone on Monday. I hope that fixes it cause while I’m leaking bile I can’t leave.

There sure doesn’t seem to be any sense of urgency here…

I just want to be better and out of here.

z

not dead – lockdown 3 day 2

Another full lockdown, but thats not the point of this post. I wanted to touch base cause I know some people might be concerned.

Basically, I’m in hospital in Athens via the hospital on Syros and the health center on Paros. I had a very bad gall bladder attack, a difficult surgery and then complications after surgery.

I’m feeling ok now, just attached to a drip via a port and stuck in hospital waiting for another test so the doctors can pinpoint the problem and choose the best way to treat me.

I miss home. I miss Lainee and Eric and no one messing with my veins. I miss being outside a hospital! Its been 2 weeks of this now…. sigh.

Anyway, believe me when I say I composed a ton of very hateful posts during my time in pain… the greek hospital system sucks big time. Maybe by the time I share my misadventure I wont be as vitriolic…

Whatever.

More later. Not sure when. Maybe I will feel up to posting again from here, maybe not. I predict another week in hospital the way things are going…

z

break out – lockdown 2 day 80


I managed to get out for a couple of hours yesterday, to explore and see a bit of Ermoupolis, the capital of the Cyclades Islands. Then this morning I was out again, running all over the place doing errands like getting tickets for our return tonight, buying turkish delight for mom and others (a specialty of Syros) and bananas for Aunt 1 cause she won’t eat much and the Dr said to feed her bananas.

I had a bad night last night, not sure why but I had my old stomach issues re-visit me, kept me up half the night. I’m ok today but feeling a little delicate and tired. I’m so looking forward to being back home with Lainee and Eric.

So here are some photos I took of the town. Its very different from Paros and the other Cyclades cause Ermoupolis is full of neoclassical buildings, nothing like the small white washed buildings of most of the other island towns.

I have finally seen a bit of the town so I’m glad I had the opportunity. Though cafes and restaurants are all closed and the town is very quiet, it was still nice to walk around a bit. Syros is nice to visit if you don’t have to spend your time in the hospital.

There are a couple of things I noticed which stood out to me. Good and bad.

Good is that drivers actually give way to pedestrians here. Unlike most everywhere else. Who knew?

Bad is that I saw tons of stray cats. Virtually tons of them. And not a single one had a notch out of its ear to indicate it had been neutered. That really worries me. Also, where most of the cats in the Parikia streets are calm and friendly, most cats here seem very scared of people.
I love the old shutters, I’d never seen this kind of shutter in Greece before.
There are so many old, abandoned and falling down mansions… Its beautiful but so sad.

z

cabinet makeover – lockdown 2 day 79


I remembered that before the proverbial hit the fan on Sunday I had planned to share the first of the finished makeover projects I’ve been working on.

Firstly I apologise I don’t have any before pics. I tend to forget and just get down to the job at hand. Here is a photo halfway through:

It was a varnished pine cabinet, ie basic and ugly and yellowed with time. The plywood front doors were added before I got to it making it into a much more useful piece of furniture.

First thing I did was give it a sand, gap fill, re-sand, then a coat of oil based undercoat. Then 3 coats of water based top coat in Benjamin Moore Oyster. The closest to the chalk paint colour I was using on the bedsides I could find.

The drawer knobs were plain yellowed pine so I bought some unvarnished pine knobs and painted them myself.

Starfish in keeping with a holiday on the island theme.

Figured it was time to post something positive!

z

restless nights – lockdown 2 day 78

I spent most of the day, and all night at the hospital. I didn’t want to risk another night like the last where all hell broke loose. Fortunately Aunt 1 was slower and quieter thanks to the sedatives they are now giving her.

Not that she’s calm. Unless she’s actually asleep, she’s pulling off her covers, murming or giving the odd yell to keep you on your toes, and struggling to get out of bed. Still. I’m amazed at her strength, will and resistance to drugs. Even when drugged to the eyeballs, slurred speech, eyes half closed, her hands and legs are struggling towards freedom.

Since 2 ladies left there are empty beds so I helped myself to one using a blanket over the plastic sheet and yucky pillow. And my scarf to lay my face on. Ugh. Its not easy sleeping in hospital unless you’re actually sick or injurred and your body just wants to sleep. but I got a couple of hours at least. Once I se the doctor this morning and full nursing staff is back on I think I’ll go shower and see if I can nap. Doubtful but you can always hope.

I did see the orthopedic surgeon for about 1 minute yesterday… Aunt 1 has 3 broken vertebrae, she’s had broken vertebrae before but these are in a new spot. I actually counted her broken bones vs mine last night. I’m still ahead at 12 to her 9. Unless any of her breaks were multiple spots in one area as some of mine were.

Anyway, the doctor said that all going well Aunt 1 would be released. Perhaps with a back brace. I’ll see him today and we will find out.

That’s the good news.

The bad news is that its really rough out there and the ferries may not be allowed to travel. There’s a ferry to Paros tonight, none on Wednesday, another on Thursday. If we can’t get one tonight we’re here for another day and night.

UGH.

Since its quiet around here I snuck around and took some photos just around the room…

Evidence of leaks and mould on the ceiling in the hallway.
The wall between this room and the next.
I guess there are more important things to spend money on than holes in the bathroom ceiling.
There is no toilet seat in the toilet in the room… for people who are unsteady on their feet and can’t hover to pee!
Something sweet: the cat that lives outside the hospital. She’s always there to greet me as I come and go.

I’m off to find some coffee…

z

cyborgs and 3rd worlds – lockdown 2 day 77

Let me start this post with an update on Aunt 1, or the person I may start to refer to as my Cyborg. I’m convinced that that woman is invincible, beyond pain and impervious to drugs. She keeps going, no matter how many bullets are plugged into her.

Yesterday, the ferry got us here (to Syros) around 12ish. The ambulance brought us to the hospital where she was whisked in to have a CT scan while I was told to wait outside (despite being her designated ‘escort’*). I waited outside till 3.30pm when they finally let me in cause she was being unco-operative. That’s code for being a total uncontrollable pain in the ass.

So, in here, she was taken finally taken to a room on the first floor, shared with 4 other women. I felt sorry for them in advance.

I stayed here with my Cyborg till 10.00pm. She was calm for the most part… Going in and out of touch with reality. She wanted to go home cause her family was waiting for her and would be worried… Family? Yes, her mom and dad. Hm. She spent a couple of hours asking who I was, I was definitely not her niece, I didn’t even look like her. But what a coincidence that I had the same name! She spoke about people and places from her youth, saw people on the ceiling and then spoke to a cousin of mine on the phone and knew who she was, asked about her sister and parents. Made a total fool of me since she was lucid!

So I went and got a decent night’s sleep in a guest house provided by the church. I must say, that feels a bit weird to me since I’m not a church going person. I’m not religious at all… I feel rather hypocritical accepting their hospitality for free. Then again, my Cyborg is in a church owned nursing home and they arranged it for me as her ‘escort’. Plus, who can afford to pay for an air bnb (which looks like I may not use for sleeping in again, just a place to go, use the toilet** and keep my overnight bag).

I was way too tired to post last night.

Anyway, I got to the hospital at 9.15am this morning to find Cyborg tied to the bed by one hand and one foot. And to the complaints of all her room mates for her behaviour during the night. Luckily they like me and are nice ladies cause they were really angry. Apparently Cyborg, feeling no pain and having no sense of her condition, tried to get out of bed all night. Almost managed it a few times till she was tied down. She swore like a trooper, called on satan to curse on those around her and generally kept everyone awake all night. All the poor women are on headache pills this morning. One of them put crosses all over herself to ward off evil.

Meanhile, Cyborg was still in fine form despite having been given pain meds and something to calm her down. She struggled against the restraints, was constantly trying to get off the bed, twisting about in ways which reminded me uncomfortably of Linda Blair minus the pea soup vomit, swore at me and anyone nearby and even hit the nurse who brought her another dose of anti anxiety stuff. Ha. I think she needs a horse tranquilizer. Where’s a vet when you need him?

Maybe they shouldn’t give her pain meds… like they don’t give them to dogs cause if a dog doesn’t feel pain it will do things which will cause further damage…I’m not comparing my good ol’ Cyborg to a dog, but hey… the theory fits!

The second pill has finally kicked in or I wouldn’t be able to write this. A moment of breathing as she drifts in and out of sleep, muttering the whole while.

So…. now its time for the rant on the hospital… but before the general rant, let me address those asterisks.

*An escort is a person who is designated as THE person who accompanies someone in hospital. Pre COVID days this chore was split among family members who would take shifts. Now an escort is ONE person who has had a COVID test and has the paperwork to prove it and their role. Escorts are necessary cause greek public hospitals are either lacking in nursing staff. nursing staff don’t have actual ‘caring for patients beyond the very basics’ in their job description, or think certain aspects of care are beneath them. From what I gather, if Cyborg needs a bath I’m it. If Cyborg soils herself, I’m the one to change her pad (unless I’m not here, in which case someone will take care of it reluctantly). Anything she needs, I’m it.

Boy am I glad I’m here.

Yet despite the rules, two women in here have had more than the one person with them. One of them had 3 visitors last night. Another has two with her today. Go figure. Its Greece. Maybe its all about who you know. As always. A good friend’s son died yesterday in an Athens hospital and his mother was not allowed to go see him. His wife was his ‘escort’, no one else was allowed in. He was positive for COVID after spending weeks in hospital, but he died of cancer and she wasn’t allowed to see him even before he contracted COVID.

**The toilets… Another whole rant just on this one subject. The toilet in the room is for patients only. It has toilet paper and hand soap. No toilet paper. No soap should someone need a shower. No towels are  provided that I can see. When I mentioned that to a nurse she actually snorted. Maybe if a patient is well enough to have a shower and bring their own soap, they can ask for a towel. Maybe. I don’t know. Since Cyborg is unlikely to be allowed upright to shower I’m not going to find out any time soon.

The toilet for the public has no toilet seats. The one I braved didn’t flush. The hand soap pump didn’t work. There are no hand towels. Hands must be drip dried or wiped on pants apparently. Hygiene at its best.

Oh great. Cyborg is awake again and complaining that someone stole her glasses.

I’m back.

Greek public hospital. Wonderful places. I highly recommend them to anyone without self respect. And to those with a self sacrificing need to do for others. Great places where you have to provide  your own tissues, hand towels, and who knows what else.

Apparently the doctors in Greece are great… but the hospitals? I think I’ll go back to Australia when my time comes as I don’t have a daughter to be my designated escort.

That’s all for now. The tablet batter is running low. It didn’t charge up properly last night. I’m sure I’ll have more to complain about later.

z

things got too quiet – lockdown 2 day 76

It seems things got too quiet here on Paros so the universe decided it was time to shake me out of my comfortable little groove.

Aunt 1, the one who’s in the nursing home, fell and fractured a vertebrae. Apparently, from what I can gather, she’s broken one of the thoracic vertebrae and its causing some neurological issues. Such as her abiity to urinate. Till she has a CT scan they won’t know exactly what’s going on and what treatment she may need, including surgery. She needs to go to Syros to the hospital cause Paros only has a very basic health center.

My phone was on silent cause I’d been messing with settings and put it on silent accidentally so I didn’t get the calls till this afternoon. I had to come down to the health center to see what was going on. I was told the above, that it was a matter of urgency, that the small fast boat used for emergencies would be leaving for Syros in about an hour and someone (me) had to go with her, for most likely more than just one night.

Wasn’t there a CT scan anywhere on the island, in one of the private clinics I ask stupidly? Not today I was told. Not till Monday. I didn’t get that then, but I do now…

So I scrambled. Organised mom and an aunt to go to my house and pick up Lainee and all her stuff to stay with them and to pack me an overnight bag. I got the neighbour to look after Eric. There was a lot of running around for people to get things together for me.

Meanwhile people from the nursing home ran around getting Aunt 1’s stuff together.

An hour passed. Then another hour. The boat wasn’t coming, the weather was too rough. And it was going to be rougher tomorrow. Aunt 1 could have her CT scan up the road here at 6.30. PM.

What? Its urgent, but she can wait 24 hours for a CT scan?

Yep. Cause the doctor that does it isn’t on Paros till 5.30pm tomorrow. Now I get it… Just like a pet will always need the vet on a Sunday night, so will an aunt have an accident when no clinics are open.

So, if she needs surgery and needs to get to Syros, when does she go there?

The nursing home manager was here and he did some running around and organised us to take the ferry to Syros in the morning.

At this point let me explain: Syros is right across from here. One hour away by ferry. You can see it. Its the capital of the Cyclades Islands, of which Paros is a member. Its where the closest hospital is. Its where the courthouse is. Its where local government is. Yet there is no daily ferry to and from there. You can only go to Syros on whatever day the ferry goes there and return 1-3 days later when it does the route again.

Very handy.

So its settled. Aunt 1 (and I) will take the ferry at around 10.15am tomorrow morning. I had a very long Q tip stuck up my nostril (I wasn’t aware my nostril went that deep) cause I need to show a COVID19 test in order to go into the hospital. Since no one came running in here to kick me out I presume it was negative.

Aunt 1 is as annoying as ever. She’s not in pain for he most part, just confused. Not so many references to why God didn’t just take her so she wouldn’t suffer, but constant restlessness and repeated questions. She recognised me, most of the time, but didn’t know where she was, what that thing on her wrist was (IV) or what the tube in her stomach was (catheter) and asked what they were every 2 minutes. Also tried to remove them every 2.2 minutes. I had to sit and hold her hands.

She’s finally off the stretcher where she’s spent all day and into a bed. There is another bed in the room but not a single chair.

Every 2 minutes she’s fussing. She wants to turn over but it hurts. She’s too hot, throws the covers on the floor. She wants to get up and go to bed. She wants to pull the tubes out. The IV hanging over her head bothers her, etc etc. She sleeps, wakes up and starts again.

I fall asleep. I wake up when hear her tossing and turning, repeating the same words: You can’t turn over cause it hurts. You fell. You can’t get out of bed cause you hurt your back. You are in bed. You’re sleeping here tonight. You’re in hospital cause you fell. You hurt your back. That’s why it hurts. You can’t turn over, yada ada yada.

It’s hard not to yell at her to stop it and settle down. The bed has no sides, and I don’t think to ask for them. I mean, how was I to know they could ‘clip on’ sides? I’ve repeatedly asked for sleeping pills or something for her to stop the fussing over her drips and the restlessness and anxiety.

I am woken up suddenly by a loud crash. Yep. She’s falled out of bed. Or she tried to get up and fell. Either way, she’s lying on the floor with a split eyebrow and pathetically asking how she fell out of bed.

I run to get help and get yelled at by the doctor. How did she fall out of bed? Where was I? What good was I if I wasn’t watching her. F^%&. I fell asleep!

She’s got the bedside manner of a bull in a china shop, yelling and carrying on about how now my aunt needs xrays again and its the middle of the night, prodding her roughly ‘does it hurt here? what about here?’ Now I’m afraid to fall asleep again, though NOW, they pushed the bed up against the wall on side and put a rail up on the other.

Do I sound angry, frustrated, tired, fed up?

And joy… today is only the beginning of this adventure!

z

black dog – lockdown 2 day 75

Meet Petey. The first portrait dog sculpture I’ve made. And the first black dog!

Petey belongs to a good friend and one of his photos inspired this. He’s a newfoundland x gordon setter, ie huge, loving and drooly. He’s one of Lainee’s good friends though she regularly walks under his stomach.

I love how he turned out.

Petey was found in a dumpster. He was covered in fleas and ticks and his tail had been cut off. I’ve given him a full tail again in this sculpture. He’s the sweetest dog you’ve ever met and his colour and size scares the crap out of little old greek ladies (a bonus).

Petey (the sculpture) was made the usual way: cardboard, paper, masking tape, wire, alfoil, paper pulp, air dry clay, recycled fabric, glue, paint. 90% recycled.

So, other than finally getting around to photographing work, what have I been doing that kept me from posting? Well… A couple of great days where the sun shone and it was warm again meant a little more time spent outdoors. More work at my aunt’s unit, though its so slow progress. Another coat on this, another on that. Let’s put on the handles. Ooops, don’t have the pliers to cut the excess off the screw that goes into the knob. A coat of wax on the one finished piece…oops they gave me the wrong stuff. A trip to the hardware store to swap it. Take mom to the doctor, spend hours in town waiting for her to finish her chores. Groom a dog, meanwhile Lainee is getting hairier.

Bascially, the usual.

I took Lainee to the vet again. Most of the smaller lumps have disappeared with the treatment so thats good. The big lump remains though, and might be angrier… The vet was concerned cause I said Lainee seemed to be coughing more, not less, with her heart medication so we added a diuretic to her treatment. That seems to be working great. First thing she did was pee on a friend’s good rug. Ooops. But the coughing is definitely reduced now. Fingers crossed.

Eric is beginning to look like a cat now, no longer the cute little kitten… he’s an adolescent cat with a naughty face. But he’s still cuddly between bouts of insanity so there’s hope.

z

naked ladies – lockdown 2 day 74

To be honest I’m not sure I should be calling this a lockdown any more. Schools are back in session for the most part and retails shops are open. The only things that remain closed are restaurants and cafes. We still have to send sms when we go out and wear masks and abide by the safe distance rules, no large gatherings, festivals still cancelled, limits on how many can travel in one car, still not allowed to travel from one county to another… but is it still a lock down? This seems almost like back to normal life… funny what you get used to.

Should I continue to number my posts by lockdown days?

Anyway, thought I’d share another of my projects… I’ve started making naked ladies. I’ve done something similar to this before but not the same. I’m going with a sort of greek statue-esque look. Maybe some will be more fertility goddess looking… for now this is the first one ready to share.

And for those of you who haven’t clicked yet… given I love art from trash and recycling and using everyday things to create art… Can you guess what she’s made from?

She’s made using a dishwashing liquid bottle as the base with DIY paper pulp, recycled cardboard and air dry clay.

Not bad for an old dishwashing liquid bottle huh?

z