Most of you who know me, well will know I’m not huge fan of social media, as the lens you often view another human’s life is often tainted. I'm sure the image of life on the road we have portrayed to date is that of happy smiling children, picturesque locations and beautiful moments. Let me tell you, life on the road is not always ‘smooth sailing’. Don’t get me wrong, we are having an amazing time, however, as with any adventure there are also challenges. So to balance these positive images, I felt it is only right to share some of our not so pleasant bits so far (this may in fact be more of a therapy session than a blog, so bear with me)!
As per typical Hunstead style we have already had multiple visits to the ED. One was a very small rural clinic in Mataranka after Sarah got her forearm caught in a barb wire fence after a jealous camel attempted to bite her whilst she was patting his lover. Her arm blew up like a balloon, became hard and she was soon systemically unwell. All we had to treat her with was a vial of intravenous antibiotics as I had already gone through two courses of oral antibiotics (I’ll cover that one in a minute). As we were 300 kms from a medical clinic and access to oral antibiotics, I was left little choice but to cannulate Sar in the passenger seat of the Hilux whilst I was in the driver’s seat as the flies were out of control. We made the journey to the medical clinic and received antibiotics including a tetanus booster and she has since recovered fully (unfortunately she lost her arm however luckily it was her left one so she can still share the driving)…
Not to be outdone, I ended up in the emergency department in Katherine when I couldn’t get in to the medical centre following an episode of blurred vision and excruciating pain in my sinuses. This was on the background of being unwell for 12 days with a chest and sinus infection. What I thought was a worsening of my sinus infection later turned out to be my first migraine.
We nearly made it 3 out of 4 when Eva crushed her foot between the locking mechanism of our bed in the camper trailer. We thought we would have to make a trip up to Darwin from Litchfield National Park for an x-ray and possible boot/ plaster. Thankfully, she was able to weight bear the following morning and escaped with just a nasty graze and swelling. Driving these distances I have developed the spine of a retired rodeo rider and I feel it has aged me by 20 odd years. I feel like the hunchback of Notre Dame as I make my way out of the car after a long haul.
As we are currently travelling such large distances between spots, life on the road is a mix of setting up after a long drive, then packing it all up the next morning. One of the pros of life on the road is spending time with the kids (24/7 to be exact). It can also a major con at times! There have been a few days when Sar and I have been tempted to exchange them for a couple of cold beers! Both Sarah and I are learning the fine art of patience, in completing schoolwork as well as understanding the importance of their own specific roles in the set up and pack down of the camper and everything else in between.
Despite getting into bed before 8pm most nights we are all a little sleep deprived. Every little noise outside the tent keeps me awake trying to work out whether it's the nutter from Wolf Creek or simply the velcro ties on the outside of the camper smacking against the canvas in the wind. The last 2 weeks in particular whilst in the NT and the Kimberley region, there have been unseasonably high winds at night with gusts up to 40 kms/hr. At times we feel like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz as we will our little camper to remain on solid ground. It rattles and shakes like an A380 on take off, but she is a tough little thing and is still standing strong. I’m up usually before first light for some bizzare reason however some of the sunrises are a sweet price to pay for little sleep.
Life on the road is hard work, and I can almost hear you from your place of work rugged up in your woolies cussing at me for having what may sound like a good ol' fashion whinge. I also believe these challenges makes the experience all the more special, and not a day goes by where we don't appreciate how incredibly blessed we are to have this special opportunity and we would not swap it for the world!
Paul Hunstead - The CPR Kids Australian Adventure