Appreciating The Small Things


I’m not convinced my mother-in-law will be talking to me tomorrow.

“You’re not going to put that on your blog,” she said to me yesterday in the ICU waiting room. And by said I mean told.

Wrong thing to say. Considering in the Potential Future Son-In-Law Stakes I was such a long shot she really should have realised by now I get excited by a challenge, amongst other things.

Part of me is almost too scared to write about Tracey’s progress.  I don’t want to jinx it. Yep, it’s that good. A week ago I was making notes for a funeral and wondering who to inform she was an organ donor, and this week I’m sitting by her bed making a Christmas list.

Not only is the blood flow to her remaining small bowel apparently looking good, she’s now able to communicate with everyone because the breathing tube is goneskies. Her voice box has been damaged, hopefully only temporarily, but she can whisper which is much better for her than trying to do sign language with her eyebrows.

And I can kiss her lips which is much better for me, because if I’m honest over the last four weeks her forehead was sometimes a bit clammy.

Although we’ve been told she’s not out of the woods yet, it’s hard not to get excited when they’re talking about moving Tracey out of ICU to a ward or getting her up to do a few laps of her bed.

We’ve been told to expect a long recovery before she can return home to us – maybe by Christmas. We’ve been told they’ll be going into her stomach twice a week for a while to check things out, which is why instead of closing her up with stitches they’ve got a vacuum seal keeping the important organy bits in but the hole in her gut open. We’ve been told they won’t know if Tracey needs to be fed entirely by total parenteral nutrition, or partly, or not at all, for a couple of months. We’ve been told it can all turn to shit in an instant.

We know all that and still we’re just so damn happy to be talking and holding hands and stealing kisses.

All I know is right at this minute I have my wife back and my kids have their mother – and I’m so grateful.

I’d like to think I’ve always appreciated how lucky we are to have each other and this life together, but now I don’t know. There’s nothing like having a moment when you actually, genuinely think you’ve lost the person who makes your life worth living to make you reassess a few things.

All I want at the moment is to be as close to Tracey as I can: to listen to her croaky voice and to look into her eyes and make her smile.

We both know every moment together from here on in is on borrowed time. It’s a gift. A gift from the wonderful surgeons and ICU staff at Royal Brisbane who have given our family a chance to grow a little older together.

Not to mention some lovely memories…

“What took you so long?” Tracey’s Mum asked me when I arrived back in the ICU waiting room.

“They started to do an ECG while I was in there,” I said.

“Is everything alright?”

“Couldn’t be better,” I said, smiling.

“So the test was okay?”

“No idea.”

“Well, what do you mean it couldn’t be better?”

“While they ran the test,” I said, grinning madly, “I got to stare at her boobies for a full minute!”

I know I’m probably going to be frowned at by my MIL, but after the month I’ve just had I can’t think of anything I’d rather write about.


~ ~ ~

Can I please take a moment to acknowledge all the love which has come our way this month. Not only have our Facebook feeds filled with encouragements and well wishes, and pics of flowers and bird shit, but our freezer is full of food and gifts have been arriving to distract the kids. I’ve told Tracey she’ll be doing nothing but charity shoots for a year to repay the karma. Cars are driving around with ‘Keep Fighting Tracey’ stickers plastered on them and there have been fundraisers, for Pete’s sake! I can’t get over it. And while it’s humbling, if I’m honest it’s also embarrassing in an ‘omg why us’ sort of way. It has made, and will continue to make, all the difference in how we come through this. Thank you.


~ ~ ~

Thank you again to everyone involved in keeping our Tracey alive and in with a chance. If you would like to do something wonderful please consider donating to one of the heroes of this ordeal – Care Flight who got Tracey where she needed to be quickly and safely. I gave them $100 as a thank you. This is a service we need to ensure continues because it saves live, keeping mummies around for their kids and hapless husbands.


  • Good news so happy for you all, that is such a great update, well done Tracey, & the gifts of food etc, are just a return on what you have giving out in the past its being returned to you it is paying it forward, sometime in the future their will be an occasion that you pay it forward to other people, what comes around goes around.

  • Susan nailed it. As the Beatles said “In the end the love you take is equal to the love you make.”

    So happy for you guys and for every new day that dawns for Tracey. Much love to you all.

  • So, so delighted to see that photo, which says it all. Here’s hoping that Tracy’s recovery goes as well as the last week has gone.

  • Great photo. Onwards and upwards from here we all hope. Like the boobies comment Bruce. Shows you are feeling much better, Sort of comment I could expect at our place too!

  • And THAT is the best post I’ve woken up to in the past month. Been so worried about you and the kids..reading your posts to my fiance ( And now blended family) with many prayers for Tracey. Mostly I sit here in wtf disbelief that things can dissolve to shit in seconds, and so glad you’ve retained your sense of humour..well I guess it’s that or you leak and flail and noone wants to see those photos. Don’t worry about your MIL’s Tracey who is gonna kill you for the grey hair and boobie comments… much love to you all from me xx

  • It’s so lovely to see this photo finally, with Tracey’s beautiful smile next to yours. We are keeping fingers, toes and eyeballs crossed that the good news keeps rolling in.

  • So true Bruce. Just knowing you and imaging what it has been like has made me reassess many things. Time with our loved ones is so very precious.

  • How amazing and wonderful the news. From the brink and back. My world fell apart when I was told my husband died in the Black Saturday fires, only to see him emerge (charred and bewildered) back to me. I think I cried every day for a year from the sheer shock,relief and love for this man. Miracles happen…..hold on

  • Fantastic news Bruce and Tracey. What if you Don’t need to be embarrassed Bruce? Do you get how the care and kindness shown to you and yr family has bought Gympie together like nothing I have been a part of before? Thanks for sharing your journey with us all. There are many many kind people in Gympie and they just wanted something more to do with that kindness. Receive it with the spirit in which it had been gifted to you and watch as Gympie receives your gratitude. Something for everyone, no pay back required. God I am so happy for you all.

  • You are still making us cry, but they are happy tears of relief and joy for all the good news you are giving us. So pleased that things are looking up for you all, hope you get Tracey home for Christmas and that we get to enjoy much more of your good reports and sense of humour.

  • Pretty much sobbed at most of your post lately! 🙂 praying for your precious family. Thank you for sharing your lives with us. So glad she is doing better. God bless.

  • I am so so glad for any of the ‘extra’ time you are getting with Tracey – that is just priceless and I am so impressed with her fortitude.
    It must be overwhelming to have such support but just know that you are all 100% worthy of it!! Still got everything crossed for you guys as Tracey recovers!

  • Wonderful post and photo Bruce! Thank you! Will keep up the prayers that everyone involved in caring for Tracey will be guided in the right direction for Tracey’s continuing recovery. That includes all her loving family. I’m sure every time she spends some time with her babies will work magic for her. Keep up the great work you are doing Bruce! You are a wonderful person. Hope you have your Princess home for Christmas.

  • That’s wonderful news! As to your question of “why us”? Well, I say why not you? You guys need help and support and that’s what all your friends are here for. I’m so happy to see Tracey smiling and wearing her glasses! xx

  • Jeez Tracey you even look gorgeous in ICU!!! I was hoping that you might be awake and talking and keeping Bruce too busy to post! I was right! As I am a total stranger and live in NSW, I haven’t been able to help with meals etc., but was very happy indeed to make a donation to the Bank Of Queensland Account set up for your family. Readers, if you haven’t made a donation yet, google the Gympie Times article about Tracey; it has the BSB and Account number. If you can’t find it say so here and I will put it up. As well as mortgage and regular bills and food, it will b great if the kids can get gorgeous Christmas presents, and (as someone who lives with serious illness) it will be important that these lovely people have a cleaner and a regular babysitter (a nanny sort of arrangement). It will all make being at home easier till you all ave your strength back). Now who is that Dr who said yes, keep treating? He s a great doctor who deserves a medal. xx

  • I was very keen to make sure Tracey had lots of pain relief and anti-anxiety medication when she was awake. Judging by that happy smile and the fact she as allowed her husband to write about her boobies, I feel assured she is on some good stuff!

  • Very happy to be part of the fundraising. Couldn’t have picked a more deserving family to help. You have touched our hearts with your story Bruce and Tracey and it is now with relief we are reading how well you are going. Hopefully there will be no more bumps on the road to recovery.

  • Really glad to read Tracey is on the mend even though it may be a slow road back to health at least the road is going in the right direction. She has a real fighting spirit and obviously now is not her time. Wishing you all the best. :).

  • So happy to hear that Tracey is awake and able to communicate with you all… Just brilliant news. May it keep coming xx

  • Great news!! May it keep on coming 🙂 If you said, ‘why us?’, well, it’s because you guys can handle it. You are strong and resilient and you will make every nanosecond count 🙂
    Bless you xxx

  • Oh I so love that picture of you both! So so happy that you are both smiling and Tracey is on the road to recovery. Well done to you both. Exciting news for your family xxoo

  • Wow! What a turnaround! I was thrilled to see the photo at the top of the post – it’s just wonderful to see Tracey with her eyes open, and those big smiles on both of your faces! I just donated in the box at Priceline (not a great amount, as I’m on a pension – but every little helps, doesn’t it. I’m so happy for you both, and for your family – when I think of your earlier posts, I am amazed by Tracey’s progress. It’s been a hard journey for you both – may it be smooth sailing from now on!

  • I can’t believe how great Tacey looks after the ordeal she has been through. Such a beautiful smile. I hope her recovery continues along this great path.

  • Thank you for sharing your happy news Bruce. Still backing Tracey for the win!! Talking about people’s support for your family, you have let us get to know you a little better Bruce and it’s meant us locals have had the chance to give our support when things suddenly turned on you. I think it’s nice to know what’s going on with others in the community and I’ve really appreciated your blog for that. I’m sure lots of people we ‘know’ in the local area go through some very tough stuff, but it’s hard to help unless you are a close friend or relative. People shouldn’t be shy. We like helping! Even though there is still a ways to go for Tracey, it seems she’s not giving up any time soon. Keep Fighting Tracey! Best wishes to your family. (Bird poo on my car too!)

  • I’ve already commented on the awesomeness of this post in FB but I just want to add: The title of this post, Are you saying your wife’s boobies are small?? Lol!!

  • You don’t know me Bruce but I have been stalking you on here. I am so so so happy for you and your family that your Wife is slowly getting better. I continue to cross my fingers for your future. X

  • I am so happy to hear that Tracey is extubated and able to tell you what to do!! With the “home for Christmas” part – is that home as in your house, or home as in transferred to a local hospital? I’m hoping the former, and just wanted to remind you that it’s actually only a short time till Christmas… I hope you are all at home in your house together for it.

  • You have let us into your life and i dont think you know how much we all appreciate what an amazing window it has been to look through. Or maybe now you do..
    Cannot believe that Traceys boobs made the post. I hope your mil beats you with a stick lol

  • I’m so, so pleased to read things are going well. Keep stealing those kisses & I’m sending tons of good vibes your way. X

  • Those two photos have made my year 🙂

    You know Bruce, I thought I was on a downer until I started reading of Tracey’s situation. Your gift to me, and others, is to share your ups and downs and the huge range of emotions that involves. Your sharing is your gift to us. Somehow it gets things in proportion. Even those of us who don’t live locally, feel somehow as if we are your friends. Thank you for that.

    Think I might print off a copy of that photo of your family and pin it up to remind me how precious life is.

    Keep up the good work Tracey. My admiration to the medical staff, Care Flight staff and everyone else involved in the journey so far.

    Happy Monday…..

  • THIS is the post I’ve been waiting for!!! To see Tracey’s smiley face sitting up in bed!!! I am just so over the moon happy for you all. Such wonderful news for a wonderful family 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • So good to see you sitting up and starting to recover. What a journey you’ve endured. What a beautiful family. Keep smiling, keep getting better. Sent lots of prayers your way over the past weeks. Xxx

  • Oh I’m soooooo pleased to be reading this post Bruce!!! Some great news in a world of tragedy and heartache. Much love and support to you and Tracey and all your family xxxxx

  • I’m so glad everything is continuing to go so well for you all. I started telling my mum about your situation the other day and she said oh yea the family from gympie with 7 kids I was reading his blog the other day. She hardly does anything other than play games online and doesn’t even read MY blog, but she’s reading yours. That says a lot about how far and wide the support for you guys has spread 🙂

  • Like everyone else — I’m just so delighted to see Tracey awake and aware – even though she’s only beginning the long road to recovery.
    And that she’s far enough out of crisis for your sense of humour to re-emerge.
    But, mate! Given what you’re appreciating in the story — you might want to look at the title again!

  • Lovely to hear that Tracey is on the mend, keep going girl. Fantastic news for you and your family. 🙂

  • I’ve never commented before and have only been reading your blog for a short time but this has made me sooo incredibly happy. To see you both smiling and to hear this news is fantastic. You guys are awesome!!! Best wishes from here on in!!! You can fight this and you’ll be back with your family in no time xxx

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