I hope you enjoy the food!!!

Monday, December 31, 2012

The Year In Review

New years eve is the time to look back and reflect on the year that was!

This year has been a year of incredible highs and lows for me.

I got to do my ultimate trip to Italy. I got to experience all that I had dreamed about for so long. The trip was everything I had hoped for and more. It also gave me a chance to be "me" again, and not be Mum for 2 weeks! 

Looking back though that was to be sum total of "highs" for me for the year!

The morning I landed back home, I landed with a thud! Within 3 hours of arriving home I was at the vet's having the family dog put to sleep. I guess they wanted me to be the one to do the dastardly deed. Putting this dog to sleep was so much more than putting the family pet to sleep. This dog was my son who has special needs' best and probably only friend. He was distraught, and it led him into a downward spiral of behavioral problems.

After 6 weeks, I succumbed and got the family a new dog! A rescue dog, I'm not sure exactly why he was surrendered, but he was a very emotional young "teenager" when he joined our family.
Looking back on Milo's entry into our home, I can see this is where the year went all pear shaped. Jack loved this dog, sure not as much as the other one, but it was still early days. He took him for walks, and that is when the bottom fell out of our world!

Those of you that have been followers for a while will know that Jack has Prader Willi Syndrome. This syndrome is a cruel one, and has many unfortunate characteristics, one of which is a high pain threshold. While out walking Milo (who happens to be an incredibly strong dog for such a medium sized animal) Jack managed to slip his femur out of the socket! A normal person would be screaming in agony, he simply complained of a pain in his hamstring. We rubbed, and went to doctors and physios, but there didn't seem to anything glaringly obvious wrong. Three weeks later, after my savior of many occasions in the months to come saw Jack, and pondered this strange set of symptoms, he suggested we should get a hip x ray done.

A six hour Emergency surgery followed, the blood supply was dead, and Jack was to be in a wheelchair for 12 months!

The worst however, was still yet to come. As I have said Prader Willi Syndrome has many issues, most we learn about along the way as we travel the journey. Four days post surgery, Jack slipped into a psychotic/delerium state. My seemingly "normal" 14 year old was little more than a baby again. I have since learnt that people with PWS can slip into these psychotic states, Jack was the youngest to have ever done this. The prognosis was not great - this state could last anyway from days, to weeks, to months!

Fortunately, we only visited "la-la land"for 35 days.

After 3 months in hospital, it was time to face the next hurdle - how to care for this child who already was more than I could handle, but now had all these new issues to deal with?

After much soul searching and tears, a decision was made to place him in "out of home" care. This is by no means an easy decision to make. I always wanted to take care of him, and to find a suitable place in the future, so that he could lead a relatively happy, normal, independent lifestyle. This was all so much more earlier than we had anticipated. Unfortunately services and facilities for adolescents with special needs are few and far between.

So while I used to write a daily blog, I now started putting all those words to good use. I started to writing to anybody who I thought would listen to me. I think nearly every politician in the state knows about Jack now!

It seems though that my words found listening ears. I now have a real chance to try and make a difference to the lives of young people with PWS. I am stepping into the new year fighting a battle that is for me a personal battle , but I am fighting not only for me, and my child. I aim to raise the level of awareness about PWS, and I am determined to get housing built so that our young adults with PWS can live meaningful, productive lives.

So Dear Readers, while I might not have been blogging, I have certainly been busy. I have often wondered if anyone has even missed me? We have still eaten, for many months though it was certainly not up to our usual calibre, but it was sustenance (and often times it was provided by good hearted samaritans!)

So I leave you here, at the end of a year I would sooner rather forget with a beautiful roasted pork belly.
I'm not going to give you the recipe, other than to say - it's all about simplicity.

8 Hour Slow Roasted Pork Belly

Score your pork belly rind. Place it on a rack in the sink, and pour over a kettle of boiling water. Dry well with paper towels. Rub oil and salt into the rind.

Turn the oven onto 100 degrees C.

Place the rack in a roasting pan. Carefully pour in a cup of cold water into the base of the roasting pan. Roast for 8 hours, checking that there is still water in the pan every couple of hours.

After 8 hours, turn the oven up to 220 degrees, roast for 20-25 minutes, or until you have perfectly crispy crackling!

Serve with whatever sauce you desire - port and cherry sauce, or as I did a caramelized peanut salsa.
Is there anything better than the crunch of pork crackling? I think not!

So Dear Readers I wish you all a happy and prosperous new year. I hope that 2013 holds good things for everyone (someone told me that its the years with the even numbers that are the bad ones) - so let's hope 13 is good because it's odd!