Meg and I
Meg’s partner, Rod, shares a little about what this beautiful soul meant to him and how they always stood by each other.
Meg and I first met by phone when she called me at work on 5 December 1998 to try and coax me into an interview with the company she worked at (we were at rival companies). Meg was very convincing, so I took the interview and ultimately took the job. Meg and I met for the first time in person mid-February 1999, and on 16 July that year we met at the Stoke House in St Kilda for dinner.
We were inseparable from that date on. We moved in together two months later and added our darling little puppy, Pinkachu, to our little family. In those days, Meg’s doctors had diagnosed her as having ulcerative colitis. It was as under control as it could be back then, and gave us both very few issues apart from the occasional flare up. We spent the turn of the century with friends in Fiji. Life was good.
In early 2002, Meg’s flare ups were starting to be more frequent and more severe. We had many, many meetings with the doctor at Cabrini Hospital and various treatments were tried on Meg. Again, it seemed to be getting under control but as time went on it returned with a vengeance. These were the darkest of times for us as it seemed there was no end in sight. Meg was becoming more and more stressed, which of course made it worse. She was put through extensive tests and rediagnosed as having Crohn’s disease. As time went by Meg spent her days either lying in bed in pain or sitting on the toilet, sometimes for many hours on end. In 2005, Meg developed what we now know to be pyoderma which would eat away at her left foot and kept her in hospital for a few months. They were doing general anesthetic surgery every second day to clean out the wounds on her foot, only to find it would get worse every time. Then came the day that they were unable to revive Meg on the table due to a massive fluid buildup around her heart. I had to race to the hospital to sign for them to do open heart surgery immediately to save her life. That was a very trying time for both of us, but Meg came through it and fought hard to get her health back.
Once the doctor was able to diagnose it as pyoderma, they then were able to use the correct medications for her to combat it. But life was still an ongoing battle for us and I put my own life on hold to look after Meg. When I wasn’t at work, I was Meg’s fulltime live-in nurse doing everything from wound dressings to helping Meg change her clothes. Changing Meg’s linen for her was almost daily and washing all her clothing and linen that got soiled was also a daily event. It was a terrible time for Meg and I felt helpless.
Meg’s longtime girlfriend Justine was probably the only person we knew who stuck by us through the hard times. Justine brought a sense of normality to Meg’s life which was priceless. In 2008, Meg was down to 43kg, there was nothing of her. Finally, Meg agreed to have an ileostomy and her health immediately started to improve. This time in Cabrini she was there for nearly four months – this was by far her longest stay in hospital. After this Meg’s lifestyle improved dramatically and her recovered health was able to give her back her life was priceless.
In 2008, Meg was down to 43kg, there was nothing of her. Finally, Meg agreed to have an ileostomy and her health immediately started to improve. This time in Cabrini she was there for nearly four months – this was by far her longest stay in hospital. After this Meg’s lifestyle improved dramatically and her recovered health was able to give her back her life.
Meg took on the role of facilitator for the Crohn’s & Colitis Australia support group in Mt Waverley where she and I met many lifelong friends and we all became part of a support network for each other (to this day, Julie keeps an eye out for me as time goes on). To see Meg doing this was such a wonderful thing. Meg had a purpose and something she loved doing which kept her occupied not just on meeting nights, but every day and evening talking to people and giving them support over the phone. I was so fiercely proud of her and what she was achieving. It was very inspiring.
Over the years since then we bought a home, we bought a business and we spent hours upon hours gardening, making it our place of solace.
In 2019, Meg was getting tired easily and my concerns were raised again as to why. Her doctors and specialists said it was to be expected as her condition with Crohn’s, whilst under control, was still there.
I’d been in a motorcycle crash in April that year and spent months in hospital being rebuilt with titanium bolts, plates and screws. I was in a wheelchair till November which made 2019 extra hard for us. Meg stepped up and became my nurse at home. We loved each other dearly. On 6 December, we received our new puppy, Pixel. Meg was so happy and thrilled to have a new puppy in our world as we missed our previous two other dogs so badly.
On Christmas Eve, we drove to work together and there was the usual conversations and laughter on the way in. Meg was excited for Christmas as we were hosting it for the first time at our home and Meg had bought everything we needed to cook up a storm. It was going to be a great Christmas. As Meg was heading home after dropping me off, she hugged me and said, “I love you dearly Rodney David.” I replied, “I love you too Megan Jane.” Then we kissed and she was off waving out the window as she left. That was our usual goodbye
At 5pm when she failed to arrive to pick me up, I rang her mobile but she didn’t answer. Over the next 20 minutes I called her mobile and our home number several times but no response. I had a vehicle at work I could use so I left a message on her phone saying that if she was on her way, turn around I’m driving myself home. I got home and Meg’s car was in the garage. I went inside and found Meg asleep in bed, I’ve seen this many times before. I tried to wake her and realised I couldn’t, she’d passed away in her sleep during the day. Paramedics arrived immediately as I tried to revive her and they took over my efforts. But it was too late, we could do nothing, she was gone.
The hole in my life now is very real and unrecoverable. I miss Meg every minute of every day. Meg is the love of my life, and I will see her again someday. But in the meantime, it hurts like nothing I’ve ever known in my life. Meg was just the perfect lady; she was personable and it seemed everyone she met immediately loved her. I’d like to thank Justine and Julie for their care of Meg over the years, and to this day Justine still keeps in touch with me weekly to make sure I’m okay.
If you are feeling concerned about your personal wellbeing and want to speak to someone about Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, call our helpline on 1800 138 029.