• drannetta

Lots going on right now, how are you?

It has been a very busy few weeks Gentle Reader, and I am taking time today to bring you up to date with it all.

I went up north to see my mother who has Alzheimers

A happy woman with short white hair and a pale blue fascinator on her head sits in front of a high tea table. She is smiling and happy.
A picture of my mother on Monther's Day 2016. The Alheimers decline was present, but it took four more years before doctors took us seriously and tested her properly.

This is a picture of my mother from 2016, we went to a local tea house and had a wonderful mother's day outing. This was the last outing we had for mother's day with her.

Everyone's Alheimers is different - my mum is rather like a heritage facade: the front looks mostly OK, but when you get a glimpse of the structure behind it all crumbles away. In a sense we are lucky. My mother knows her children and where she lives right now, but she is now often uncertain of what year it is.

I travelled back to the Central Coast several days ago to attend the geriatrician's appointment with her - the recommendation was to put mum in a home. However, as my mother still knows where she is, and her firm preference was always to be in her home, the decision has been made to keep her at home a bit longer. We are now looking at care homes, and we know that the decision about moving mum is one that will have to be constantly reviewed in light of what is best for her and her state of wellbeing. I hadn't seen mum for over 3 months since I moved, and some of her deterioration is quite marked. But she is still bright, happy and content with her routine even though her attention span is quite short in general now.

We received sobering news about Cully

A picture of the startlingly good looking Cully Mallon, an 11 year old Malamute X Shepherd dog. Cully is in 3/4 profile looking gorgeous in a shady courtyard.
Cully, a Malamute X Shepherd, is our beloved 11 year old dog.

Cully has kidney disease, which means he is now palliative. Fortunately Cully has responded well to a new diet and is playful and happy again, having put back on a bit of weight.

Hubs and I are shaken by this diagnosis, and I spent a few days feeling very sad and tired. However, we hope that we will have months and years of good quality of life for Cully, rather than only weeks to months. The vet was clearly relieved when she saw that Hubs and I are communicating well about Cully's life being about good quality, not quantity by forcing him to live with pain and illness.

When I advocate for having your advance planning in place for your pets, I'm not kidding. I do walk my talk. This diagnosis was confronting, but we are clear about what Cully's comfort means to us, and where our boundaries are.

Tasmania voted in Voluntary Assisted Dying laws

A picture of Mike Gaffney with a map of Tasmania and the words: "Tasmania's end-of-life-choices (voluntary assisted dying) bill PASSES the final vote
Mike Gaffney who tabled the bill and advocated ceaselessly for this piece of legislation.

As you may have heard, Tasmania is the third state in Australia to bring in dying with dignity law, and our waiting period is only 18 months (rather than the 2 years for Victoria and Western Australia). I have been a supporter of dying with dignity for a long time, and am thrilled that the state I call home has passed this law. The most populous state, NSW, is tipped to have VAD legislation in front of state parliament before the end of the year - so Australia looks strong in terms of choice and option at end of life.

I have been interviewed for local media about VAD and my own work in light of this legislation passing, and it is exciting to see the support in the general community. Even when people don't want to request VAD themselves, opting for choice has been a community priority. Tasmania's bill passed unanimously. When I have had a chance to review the legislation in more detail I will be posting about the law on my socials. If you have questions about VAD please email me at and I will do my best to answer them.

Still working on the new website

As I am adding all of the online courses I offer (a beginners introduction to end of life, a full end of life consultant training course, and Masterclasses), plus a new shop and a fresh new look for the website overall, this is taking up a good deal of time and energy. I am a sole trader business, so I am doing most of the work with some input from an incredibly talented designer and a WordPress coding expert who I call in periodically to check my work - this takes more time, but saves me a good deal of money.

Tier 2 will roll out shortly on the new platform, and all existing students will be transitioned at the back end to the new site. My aim is to make this a seamless transfer, so fingers crossed.

I will put up a post when the new-look website goes live. In the meantime, take good care of yourselves and do your advance planning. Go on. You know you want to!

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