Symbolism

My friend told me that this rare beautiful Swallowtail Butterfly is my mum. Coming by to tell me she is with happy with me.

I was not one to think such things but then I remembered the eagle, on the day and time of her cremation. Perhaps our loved ones can show us these little moments of pure joy. Or the universe or whatever one believes in. I believe in spirits of people, the soul. Anyone who has seen a loved ones lifeless body knows their spirit is gone. And their spirits cannot be held back by mortal bodies.

The blue butterly has been back a lot. I even managed to capture it on my iphone, nearly falling into my buddleja to do it! It was fun and a challenge.

It is pouring with rain here at the moment so no butterflies in sight, however rain is a great time for reflection, for cosiness, for looking at photos and reading. Snuggling down under the covers and watching dvds. It is what I intend to do. If you have someone to snuggle with all the better. But it has to be the right someone.

I am having issues with fending off a really sweet chap who lives near me. Honestly do not know what to say to him when he asks me out. It is only a matter of time.

I could try the platonic friends only thing, or the celibacy thing, but I actually would like someone to cuddle with, snuggle with on a day like this.

I have never been one to settle for anyone, there has to be a spark of something. And that spark can be painful for me. If I am attracted to anyone then I get Spontaneous Orgasms from my surgical scarring. I am seriously thinking that Celibacy might be the way to go. And that would mean no touching by others. This chap keeps stroking me. My arm. My shoulder. Lots of stroking and long gazes into the eyes. And I am a toucher. It is how I show affection. So I guess platonic friends could snuggle, if there is no spark it should be okay for me, no nasty pelvic spasms to embarrass me.

I could use my mum right now, in whatever form she should choose to take. I know I could tell her everything and she would understand.

Its not easy dating again after over thirty five years. I love Frankie And Grace on Netfix. I am not sure which one I am like. Neither I guess but it would be fabulous to be like them. But I guess they have the necessary parts. I mean how do I go about telling a chap I am not in full working order? That as well as that I have an ostomy and everything that goes with that.

Mum could not help with this actually as she did not know about the ostomy. Or the so called deformities. And defects. I protected her right up to the end.

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New Zealand Bound

 

Three years ago my son and his girlfriend headed off to New Zealand. They had been so caring, so helpful and compassionate both before and after mum died that once I had a bit of money after my divorce I had to do something for them to show them how much I appreciated them.

They were really excited, and I was thrilled to have the flat to myself and Chanti for three weeks. I adore being by myself as long as I have an animal to look after. I can honestly say I was not lonely once. And thank goodness my bowel obstructions slowed down over those few weeks otherwise Chanti and I would have been in trouble.

They had a fabulous time touristing and visiting relatives and when they came back they were engaged!

Inaugural Canon And Randwick Petersham Cricket Photo Competition

On This Day five years ago my son was presented with his prize for winning First Prize in a competition sponsored by Canon, and presented to him at Coogee Oval. He had taken several photos and the one the judge chose was the most art like. Mike Whitney loved it. He was charming as always, made my son so comfortable. Not easy as his father had reluctantly come along to the presentation.

He had been home over a week after his hospitalisation for attempting suicide at The Gap, but was being increasingly vicious with us and the trip from Randwick to Coogee on the bus was a nightmare. As was the breakfast treat at Macdonalds. He would not sit near us on the bus or at Maccas. He barely said a word to us.

When we got down to the oval I chatted to Mike Whitney whom I had met again recently in Royal Randwick Shopping Centre when he was looking for the doctor’s surgery with his elderly mum. That had been the first time I had ever seen Mike flustered so I had asked  him at the lift, if he would like me to take his mother and himself down to the surgery.  He breathed a deep sigh of relief and said yes please.

The other time we met him as a family was in Myer Men’s department in Westfield Bondi Junction a few years prior to that. He was charming then too. This time was no different and he was so delighted to meet my son, the winner of the competition. Said he had never seen a photo like it before.

The presentation went well but was marred my then husband’s disdain for the whole thing. He refused to talk, sat well away from us and sneered at my conversation with Mike. He was horrid and it was one of the few public displays, apart from Christmas Eve, where he treated us in front of other people the way he treated us at home.

Later on my son and I met his ex for morning tea, very glad to stay out of our flat. We would not let his father’s behaviour ruin the wonderful day. My son had turned to photography when his pain interfered with his writing, which is his first love. I admire and deeply respect the way he has adapted all his life to his health circumstances, though the whole thing with his father had really thrown him, hurt him dreadfully.

 

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Secrets

On This Day a year ago I went to visit dad in his care home in Newcastle. This involved two buses and a fifty minute wait between buses which was an excellent opportunity for a coffee and toilet break. Needed after the gigantic coffee I always had!

I was having a lot of trouble walking due to then undiagnosed Short Fibre Neuropathy  And was using my heavy trusty convertible wheelchair / walker to get around. That did not help my hands though, and I often look really clumsy however it is the SFN. I was enjoying my lemon tart and the fork just slipped through my fingers. A regular occurrence. I thought it best to hold the cup with both hands!

Sitting outside, the breeze was always welcome and I love to have coffee by myself so that I can soak in what is going on around me. Not everyone has the time and I treasure these moments, alone yet in company.

After that I popped to the disabled loo in Myer, checking out the fashion for ideas to buy friend’s outfits for special events. I find them on eBay for a fraction of the price but need to see what is current. Once in loo I completed my business by taking my usual bathroom selfie as Proof of Life.

Yet again Myer had not repaired the lock on the disabled toilet door. Many a time I have been completing ostomy business when someone walks in. They are always more embarrassed than me. There is also no rubbish bin there to dispose of the products I use.

Soon I was on the next bus, hefting my heavy walker on and then off, with no assistance from the driver. Once I had walked up the short road to dad’s care home` I put on my bright face and found dad sitting in his chair, crying. I walked around in front of him so he could see me and asked him what on earth was the matter. He said that he could not get his shoes on properly and it really hurt to walk.

My dad is really tough, he cries from stroke damage but not from pain or illness so I knew I had to get to the bottom of it. I asked him to take his socks off to show me and I was astounded at how he had been walking at all.

I told them weeks ago he had an ingrown toenail and that it was infected. I was furious but did not want to upset dad more so we went to have a coffee in the dining room there.  We usually went shopping and had coffee out but there was no way he could get down to the shopping centre with that toe.

Perhaps it is what caused dad to open up to me. Because he knew I would not rest until I knew his foot had been seen by the GP and the NUM. At some stage, in his room, he shared something that he had never shared before, with anyone, not even my mum. He told me when he would not do what his sisters wanted, which was agree to sell the family home and split the profits amongst the family, that one of them said she knew a secret that he would not want to come out.

Dad told me what it was and it was so sick, so undad, so nasty and hurtful that I knew just where it had come from and why. A way to try to shame him into doing what this sister wanted. Though it was untrue. Dad sobbed as he told me. And kept saying he did not do it.  I got right in his face and told him that I believed him. That I knew he would never do that and that this person was evil, or sick, or both. Much like my sister. I then gave him the longest full body hug where I could feel him stop crying, and calm right down. It was one of the most amazing, privileged moments in my five years up here, and there have been a lot. 

After another half hour or so of distraction I left him, he seemed much lighter and would not stop hugging me. When I arrived home about two hours later I got myself a very strong cup of coffee and reflected on my day. Days like that made everything worthwhile.

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Possibilities

I really think I can smell my white buddlejas from my bedroom window. It is possible I guess as I planted five of them either side of the cabin and they have a really potent fragrance. Reminiscent of honeysuckle mixed with magnolia.

One day I would like to have a bedroom which has a door that opens out onto a terrace or patio with massed buddlejas planted there. Pure heaven.

In my care home of the future, along with all the latest tech and gender neutral furnishings, I will likely get my wish. A door that opens into a garden or paved area where my buddlejas are in huge pots, underplanted with daffodils and other seasonal bulbs. I do hope it is a fair way off though, I have a brief window of time, at this stage of my life, though the possibilities are ever expanding.

 

 

 

Hearts Are Precious Things

Five years ago today my then husband was in lockdown in a Psychosocial Unit. He had tried to commit suicide a few days before when confronted with his strange behaviours.  Valentines Day was always special to him. He liked to spoil me with cards and flowers. Simple but sweet. And strange as he never showed me the least bit of affection or attention the rest of the year.

After an extremely confronting meeting the day before with a psychiatrist it was the first day that I had not visited him. Had not phoned. Had not checked up on him. I was not even sure I was going to have him back, our son did not want him back. The  nurse practitioner who was at the meeting phoned me to check on things and told me I did not not have to have him back.

Meantime everybody I knew on Facebook was celebrating the day. While giving me moral support which was appreciated. I am not sure that I even got dressed that day. Was too exhausted after what had happened in the middle of the night when I had a really bad shock reaction. I remember now some of the things I had blocked. He had betrayed me by talking about the fact I could not have penetrative sex due to my surgeries. To strangers I did not know at work. And to a lot of them that I knew. I felt deformed, freakish, unwomanly already, but to hear he had discussed it with people without my permission. It sickened me. Especially as they were sorry for him. They did not know the story, what he put me through after the surgery. And before. I never refused him anything sexually when my body was “normal.”

One of my friends shared this beautiful poem by E E CUMMINGS five years ago. And then in my fragile state I thought it was beyond glorious. The sentiment. The lack of capitals and weird punctuation. And it made me realise what I did not have. What I deserved. I can love like that. And I deserve to be loved the same way. And treasured by someone who would not talk about my most private issues with anyone.

Now I am five years older and very independent am not sure I could ever live with anyone again. I am happy to have companionship with someone who has their own place. But I am no longer the shellshocked survivor of marital abuse. I am my own person. I have found my voice, and will not be silenced by any man. And am not sure there are many feminist males out there like that. Be interesting to see if there are. I know I have a great capacity to love, but at our age broken dreams come with an awful lot of hurt. Hard for me as I am quite reserved in how I interact with most men in real life and then when they do get to know me they will probably be surprised that I have a brain and am quite spirited. And I like a good debate. And a lot of playful teasing. And I really like my own company.

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My Mum’s Voice

When my mum went into care the RN on duty would always phone me if she had an argument. Or hit someone. Or was feeling unwell. Late one Saturday morning I received a phone call saying she screamed when the AIN tried to put her top on. And cried and sobbed. They had no idea what was going on but were concerned so let me know they had called an ambulance.

I told them I would meet the ambulance at the hospital. Well intentioned and very sensible seeing as mum was demented, deaf and mostly non verbal due to her deafness. I was there within thirty minutes and while I was waiting I called Norma (their neighbour) and let her know and asked her advice.  She said absolutely make yourself known. I had already done that but I could not get through to the people on reception or triage why I was there.

It is vital to be there for the demented person anyway but especially if they are deaf as it can be terrifying for them. And the actual staff looking after the demented person can have trouble managing their behaviours. I knew all this as I research. A lot. I am in Dementia groups on Facebook and read blogs by professionals and caregivers. But I just could not get them to listen.

After I had been there about an hour and had coffee and observed the layout of this particular hospital I went to the double doors to Emergency and knocked on them. A doctor was just coming out and she let me through and asked me who my loved one was. When I told her she said thank goodness as they could not communicate with mum. She showed me to the bed where my mum was, apparently in a light sleep. I sat and updated Facebook and various groups asking for prayer and waited until she stirred. Her first words to me, with a smile, were “now then.” Her welcome to her special loved ones.

I was able to chat to her, we used body language to communicate and I always had a notepad and wrote in big capitals to her. She could still read but not write things herself at that stage of her Alzheimer’s. The doctor and nurses came and they told me they had done chest X-rays and an ECG and everything seemed fine.

They were not happy releasing her though so we stayed. For hours. And hours. And hours. And meantime mum missed her Risperadone and her other lunchtime medicines. It must have been after 3pm that she started sundowning. And without her meds her sundowning was horrendous. They put the rails up on the bed to keep her in, so she simply shimmied down to the end of the bed like a monkey. My mum. Who had a bad back and bad legs and so much wrong physically was off that bed at least ten times in ten minutes. The patients and their relatives were looking at me in sympathetic horror.

I was so concerned she was going to fall and break a hip that I started walking her. Or rather she walked me, much like an owner walks a dog. She was ahead of me, dragging me by the hand, around the tiny area that is Emergency at Calvary Mater Hospital, Waratah. My legs are not good, I cannot walk for too long and cannot really stand much either and after about an hour of this the nurses got concerned. For me!

They said they would normally keep her overnight but if the carehome RN would keep an eye on her they would send her home in a Hire car. At their expense. This was accepted gladly because by then mum was thinking I was my evil witch of a sister and saying “what have you done now P&&&&.?”

Ha ha, so I knew how she felt about my sister. Brilliant. That was one thing to come out of this debacle. Once mum entered the door of her carehome she skipped, practically ran inside and sat down with her friends. The nurses and residents asked how she was and I told them she was home and safe and settled.

We can never underestimate the behaviours that can arise from pain in demented people. To be in agony, not know what it means as often our loved one has forgotten what pain is and then to be put in an ambulance and taken to an emergency ward without anyone they know? Horrendous for our loved ones.

I instructed them in future to let me know as soon as they called an ambulance as I would get a taxi there very quickly and escort her. Luckily it never happened again.

I was absolutely shattered and mum did not need me so I went home and slept most of the next day. The day after that I went to see her and took her for a coffee as it was her day for dad to visit. She looked fine, though a little drawn. And still had her ECG pad on. We had a lovely outing and we said goodbye to dad and his carer and stayed a while longer as mum loved watching the children come out of school. And she loved the tiny dogs as she used to have one. But my sister gave it away.

When I next visited mum a few days later she told me her ribs were hurting.  I pressed on them and she screamed. There you go. With her history of severe arthritis and Spondylosis of the spine it should have been the first thing they checked. But as she had no advocate, no voice, she was not heard. It made me more determined than ever to advocate for those without a voice. I certainly used my voice, and my intellect and whatever other qualities I needed to muster so that my mum got the care she needed. She trusted in my care of her. I did not let her down. Am quietly confident that my mum knew I would look after her. And I know that I did.