Greeted With Open Arms

A year ago today I was out very early in the morning in the garden deadheading my many buddleja, flowering Andean sage, nasturtium and hibiscus. It is the best time to do it as at other times the plants are always covered in fat bees and butterflies. I did not want to get stung and I have an ongoing conversation with the bees that they do not own the plants, I do!

By 10.30 I had showered and dressed carefully for my day ahead. The day was going to be a full one, firstly the dentist for an extraction of a very painful molar and later on in the afternoon a visit from a special friend. I easily caught the bus up to the dentist, had a lovely chat with the receptionist and was even able to give some requested advice to one of them about not having her scheduled surgery using gynaecological mesh. The dentist assistant was a lovely silver haired girl in her teens and the dentist was a fabulous female. Very gentle.

The extraction was difficult, involving curved roots that were immediately near the sinus cavity. I was warned if it perforated it would need surgical repair. However all was well and we all smiled with relief when it was over. I did have to be careful not to sneeze with my mouth shut for a few days though! As I bit down on some gauze I tentatively made my way over to the shopping centre to get some goodies for afternoon tea.

Then I walked home, not bad considering my Cervical Spinal Stenosis makes pressure on my neck …..difficult. Perhaps the dentist asking that the nurse hold my head made a difference. Once home I had a very milky cup of tea, an interesting taste through blood soaked gauze!

When I checked my messages my friend said his daughter was through sooner than he thought so they would be over early afternoon instead of late. I rang him and asked what time and he said they were in Belmont! And asked for directions! I replied I had no idea as I do not drive and isn’t that what Google Maps are for? In the background I could hear this delightful giggling coming from his daughter G and much chatter and fun going on between them.

So after I hung up I dashed to the bathroom and spat out the second gauze plug…no further bleeding so was very pleased. I whacked on some bright red lipstick and fluffed up my hair and made sure the bathroom was ready for guests. Luckily I always over prepare so the snacks were plated up. Fresh plump blueberries, Maltezers and some sort of biscuits, perhaps Tim Tams? And lots of Irish tea.

Almost as soon as I had poured milk into the jug of my lovely Maxwell and Williams afternoon tea setting I heard laughter, giggles and chatter. I made my way to the door, suddenly overcome with nerves. I need not have worried, I was greeted with open arms by J and introduced to his daughter, whom I hugged with less reserve. J chatting all the way inside and gladly accepting the offer of a cuppa.

This was a very special meeting, one delayed by many many years, almost a lifetime in fact. We had met by phone only when he helped me with my dad in 2014, which was the year mum passed away. Early the next year he retired and his kindness and his lovely voice was quite a loss to me, so after six months I contacted him and we became Facebook friends. This led to playing Words With Friends, maniacally at times, depending upon who had a free afternoon midweek. Matches often went on all afternoon. I liked to online chat as we played. He preferred to play then chat.

We lost touch late 2015 until late last year, it coincided with my getting off my walker and having correct diagnoses for several issues which had made me less mobile than I should be. I was full of joy at being in charge of my health again and looking forward to the possibilities life might have in store for me rather than a life limited by disability. It had made me rather reckless in my online communication with J and I felt quite overcome with embarrassment at some of the things I had got up to online.

I put my best Verger front on though and we had a lovely time, with me teasing him about his many accents. He speaks in many UK dialects! Chatting with G was wonderful, about fashion, her new job and her move down here recently to be near her family. I loved her freshness and innocence. We all three trooped out to see my infamous  buddlejas and the rest of the garden.

After a fun time involving me begging J not to make me laugh because of my extraction, accompanied by peels of laughter from G, it was sadly time for them to go. J hugged me goodbye, a protracted hug which I was mortified by as I did not have a bra on! G then answered a phone call and J came out of the car for more cuddles and said we would be talking online. To which I answered of course.

So I survived the first meeting, met my man of many voices, his gorgeous daughter, and survived my embarrassment. How good it is to be over 60. To have nothing to lose. To trust someone so deeply that anything is possible. Indeed to even meet someone where anything is possible is a rare thing. Over time since then we have committed ourselves to each other, in words and deeds. And to each other’s adult children and we love being involved in their lives.

 

 

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Nothing Short Of Magik

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about my man of many voices. I sent him the post as he is my First Reader and I value his reactions and help with editing.

The last time we had seen each other we had lunch at my friend’s house and after that J kindly drove me home. This takes about ninety minutes via the coastal route and was wonderful as we had both lived and enjoyed that region when we were young.

On the way we looked at the houses we had lived in then. Mine with my parents and brother and him with his wife and children. They were a few streets apart. I was also honoured to be shown his brother’s grave nearby. He had died in a car accident when they were both in their twenties, shortly after they migrated here from England. I was very moved and embraced him. He was trembling and I held him for a long time and massaged his chest, where I could feel his heart beating. Very hard. I kept my hand there until I thought he was more composed.

My son was home when we arrived and we all had an enjoyable time together. When J left he kissed me for the first time. I was so stunned I instinctively turned to my son and mouthed he kissed me! One reason I was so stunned is because its over twenty years since I was kissed by a man out of affection. And I was married for a lot of that time. So I thought I had forgotten how to do it.

We arranged to meet up again the next week on the Wednesday, this time without having lunch at my friends. She is wonderful but it was hard to have any time to talk to each other there. My friend H drove me down to Gosford as she works there three days a week. She dropped me off at Hungry Jacks in Gosford where we had arranged to meet. H and I had toasted sandwiches for breakfast and H waited as long as she could then she went off to work. I waited and then J texted me that he was at a different Hungry Jacks!

He soon arrived and we went back to his place, which I had not seen before. It was exactly him. Books and dvds and sofas galore. Lush green rugs and various pieces of art which had special meaning to him. He showed me over the flat and pointed out the huge sofa where his adult children slept when they came up and where his daughter’s room was. It was very spacious, with lots of furniture but still felt as if it was sparsely furnished. Quite a hard thing to do. Perhaps because its quite a big flat, indeed my entire cabin could fit in his lounge room!

We shared a pot of tea together on the sofa, looked through some photographs of his family in the UK and chatted and were very relaxed together. Then he stood up and said lat’s go and get comfortable shall we and disappeared to his room. I was a bit bemused by then but willing to go for it.

He is gentle though passionate, kind though brutally honest and a loving partner yet still an individual. I am madly in love with him and I also love him. After a largely loveless marriage since 2000 for myself and also a bad marriage for J in the past we are not wasting any time. We are juggling opportunities to get together. We love our time exploring the regions where we both live.

Lake Macquarie is magnificent and its beauty has healed me in so many ways. Now I love someone who has history in the area where I grew up and also where I now live. And I have history where he now lives. Synchronicity. Its an incredible thing to feel like you are meant to have met someone before. And to actually meet them at this stage of our lives. Well its nothing short of magic.

Voices

I have known someone now since 2014 and I felt I knew him a little by his voice. And later on by his chat when he played games online. I picked up a playful aspect to the voice in 2014 and an underlying deep sadness or acknowledgement of how hard life can really be.

I knew this person wrote poetry and purchased a copy of his work. And felt I knew him a little better. However I met him this year for the first time in person and it was hard to connect him to the voice or voices I had heard over the phone. Though he had many voices they did match the tone of his book. I was really intrigued and became a tad outrageous online and then unfortunately the embarrassment factor kicked in and I became very self conscious.

Over some weeks of all kinds of communication I formed a more complete picture of this complicated and complex person. Complicated because of events early on in his life and throughout it. And complex because literally he speaks in many voices. He is honest to a fault, tempered with a charming exterior and manner.

I have become so fond of this man who has served others all his adult life, done what he thought was the correct thing all his adult life, and as often happens when one does the right thing, life backfired on him. No good deed goes unpunished is one of my favourite sayings, however one so often gets what one puts out in this life and he has put so much out that I know life will ultimately bless him and give him what he wants and needs.

I love to hear him talking, he has an incredibly sexy melting lover voice. A harsh old man voice. A hurt father, worried for his child voice. A young man, full of laughter before life’s responsibilities set in voice, this is my second favourite one. He has the knowledgeable mentor voice. The professional, educated and aware voice. There are so many voices that make up this man. And I am looking forward to discovering many more, especially the one that emerges from him after I uninhibitedly make love to him one day, perhaps a mixture of the young man and the lover and the poet.

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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.