I cannot believe my first month has already gone in Adelaide! Whilst I feel like it was just yesterday that we were hazy from Ben’s big christening party, and were literally last minute packing up off to Manchester Airport, I am also astounded at all we have achieved in the first 30 days of living together.
I’ve bought a car (but can’t drive it). I’ve bought a house and we’ve already moved in. I’ve gone supermarket shopping in a wheelchair. I’ve started weaning baby Ben. And I’ve been to Bunnings (which is B&Q to us Brits) more times than I’ve changed Ben’s nappies.
It’s not been easy. I’m guessing emigrating to the other side of the world is tough for any new mum. But to do it with a broken ankle and to have no help at the other end… what was I thinking?! I’ve sectioned off my updates so you can skim the boring bits below:
I was dreading this journey. As soon as the doctors gave me the all clear on Monday to fly with my fracture, I couldn’t stop thinking about how gruesome the 21 hour flight would be. However, Ben was an Angel and Dave was a Hero. Yeah, it was tough. Dave was constantly up and down asking cabin crew for hot boiled water or taking the change bag to the toilet queue. In fact it was our first flight together to Australia and not a drop of alcohol passed our lips!! Parenthood does this to you I’ve realised. I also fainted on the flight, similar to when I broke my ankle, and have no idea why?! But the senior cabin crew were fantastic and gave me a shot of Ginger Ale… very hardcore, I know.
We did nearly miss our connection in Dubai, but somehow, me, my baby boy, my exhausted partner, 9 cases, a pram, 1 wheelchair and a pair of crutches landed in Adelaide! Huge big-ups to Adele and Dale for being our welcoming committee 🙂 We can’t commend Emirates enough, from the start in Manchester to the help and support in Dubai to the extra staff that helped us wheel my worldly goods through Arrivals at Adelaide… they were honestly fantastic.
The Official Aussie Stuff
So, once landed, the next day, my partner had us up and out (with jet-lag) and down to Oaklands Park where you can find, Centrelink, the doctors and the driving license place all on one road. I hobbled behind him on my crutches whilst we played a weird game of human Tetris… you can’t get Medicare without I.D. – you can’t get I.D. without a permanent address – you can’t get your broken ankle seen and x-rayed by a doctor until you have Medicare. After hours of up and down this road, we diverted to the bank to open up an account in my name so I had the I.D. required to get my Australian driving license which in turn gave me my Medicare. The UK has a reciprocal agreement with Australia, so I’m entitled to limited subsidised health services from Medicare for medically necessary treatment. I’m pretty much there now, but am awaiting my Tax File Number which can take a few weeks. It can only be applied for and granted by post. To be honest, I’m glad Dave pushed us to get on top of all this stuff. It matters.
Ok, so back to my Weber b fibula fracture… this happened a week before I was due to emigrate (read the disaster story here). I’m not going to lie, it was traumatic getting to Australia with such a fresh break. And on top off the pain, I looked ridiculous. Like a character from Little Britain. (See photo below of how I arrived in Adelaide airport… looking like Buckaroo. And unknowingly carrying none other than a Paralympic bag on my lap… oh the unintended irony!)
I was terrified of being left on my own with a baby and a broken ankle whilst Dave had to go and work major events pretty much as soon as we landed, so I found a nanny agency and booked one for one day (nurturing nannies) and a lovely girl (Ellie) who works with Dave stepped in and helped on another. Getting help from the agency girl felt awkward to be honest. I was in the house too and Ben was so jet lagged he mostly slept. But as I was still going up and down the stairs on my arse, it helped me move Ben and keep him occupied.
Ellie, however, was just what the doctor ordered! It was much more comfortable having someone who knows us in the house, and Ben absolutely fell in love with her at first sight. Ellie even cooked for us and gave me the tastiest veggie vegan banquet!
As soon as Dave was off work, we headed to the doctors (which for us is the Marion Domain) where you literally just turn up and wait (usually an hour or more though) for a doctor to see you. That’s providing you’ve got a Medicare card of course. The doctor (who was originally from Coventry) referred me to X-ray which is in the same place and I went back to him to discuss the results. He confirmed the fracture and said the next step is to go back in four weeks, which is this first week in December. So, fingers crossed I get a good result… will keep you posted.
Ben suffered as you’d expect with jet lag for about a week or two. He cried and was feverish and developed the most horrific sounding cough. So I took him to the doctors who explained they were just symptoms of him acclimatizing to such a different environment. Although we do not get the heat in the UK it is a very humid environment, whereas in Australia, the environment is warm but dry. So, he recommended getting a vapourisor. I chose the Euky Bear (like a typical new mum) vapourisor, and it’s actually worked. It goes on every night in Ben’s bedroom (or ours if he’s in there) and within the month it’s cleared his cough.
As a new mum, I’ve been so used to ‘the red book’ and clinic routine back home, that I was desperate to get Ben set up over here with a baby clinic so I could get advice and get him weighed regularly. I found the Child and Family Health Clinic on floor 3 of the office tower at the Marion to have everything we need. It’s a fantastic facility with very helpful staff and upon registering Ben, we were referred immediately for a hearing test and baby Physio (both at no cost).
The hearing test went well – both of his ears passed! And it was much more high tech and accessible that what I have seen in the UK. So, Ben has no hearing problems, he’s just ignorant when he chooses to be!
The Physio appointment was even more embarrassing… I explained how he had a lazy left arm and it was often bent backwards. This hadn’t actually bothered me, but several nurses and friends had mentioned it to me back home in Manchester. So Ben was referred for Physio but an appointment couldn’t be found in time before we came away. Anyway, after asking about the birth and if baby got stuck (which he did quite severely) the fabulous Physio lady at the Child and Family Health Clinic explained that his hand was ‘lazy’ as a result of nerves being trapped during his escape route down the birth canal. She checked and said that he has a good grip and does use it in the way he should and expects that over time it will continue to strengthen and cause no real concern.
Ben continued to perform to perfection as she tried him on her mat with ‘tummy time’! He lifted his head, smiled and gurgled and nearly rolled over. He’s not done it full on his own yet, but we are not far off.
So, Ben is registered with full Medicare on his dad’s policy, and now at the clinic. The book isn’t red here in Australia, it’s blue. His details have been transferred over and the only difference being the time babies have injections. Although they are administered at a different time, he had all the injections expected, except for Hepatitis B. It’s not given as a vaccine back home in the UK, but it became legal to do so here in Australia a couple of years ago. So, we took another trip to the doctors and he had his first dose. He will have another two doses in the next 4 months.
I’m feeling more settled now we have our own home and there’s things here like going to Aldi for Ben’s nappies, or food shopping at Woolworths which seem familiar.
We’ve spent nearly every day since we’ve moved house at Bunnings which is the equivalent to B&Q, trawling the isles for everything from lights and globes (that’s what light bulbs are called in Aus!) to blinds to toilet seats!
I have to say how disappointed I am in the poor choice of home furnishings on offer here in Adelaide. Everything seems so old fashioned or ridiculously expensive. But I’ve trawled the shops and searched online, and managed to find some nice pieces to update the interior decor from Freedom, Swish and mydeal.com.au. My favourite things so far have been my light fittings from freedom – I’ll do a blog when we’ve furnished the house properly.
I’m missing home terribly at times, especially being so incapacitated and not being able to get out and about as much as I would usually. But FaceTime has really helped. I’ve had regular calls from my mum, who I don’t think realises I can see her too! I often get to see just her forehead. My sister and the kids call me, usually when they’re rushing about getting ready before the school run. And my dad and Eileen call me Friday nights when they take turns to sing and play the balloon game to Ben! My best friend has FaceTimed me too and that makes me feel so much better and normalised.
We’re on countdown now. It’s 8 weeks until they come over for the wedding and I get to see them all 🙂 it’s my new long distance relationship!
Out and About
Needless to say, I have not been out and about nearly as much as I would have been if I was able bodied and on two legs! However, thanks to some lovely people, I have made it out of the house and been reminded just how beautiful a place Adelaide is. I’ve enjoyed a wedding at The Botanical Gardens, basked in the sun at Henley beach, frequented our local pub at Seacliff beach, enjoyed The Marion Shopping Centre regularly, took a stroll down Jetty Road at Glenelg, and spent a lazy Saturday in Brighton. I’ll take more pictures and blog more about the fantastic places on offer in South Australia soon. Keep checking in on instagram, I always post details on there.