Resigned, Not Panicked

Today I went to the local Dental Clinic to have my mouth assessed for dentures. It is a difficult place for me to get to. The local bus that connects has a forty minute wait so I walked up to the shops via Belmont Citi Centre where I had a very nice coffee. Then I popped into two charity shops, scoring three gorgeous jackets for myself and a gorgeous dress too. I made it to the bus stop as the bus pulled up and it was a pleasant trip around the lake to the Dental Clinic.

However getting off the bus was problematic as it was not accessible so did not have a ramp and the driver pulled up right on the road. I tried about three times to get off then climbed down backwards, hoping my good leg would reach the higher curb.

Then began the walk down the really uneven unkempt sidewalk to the Clinic. I asked for a glass of water as soon as I got there as was feeling a bit rattled and the lovely Sarah got me one straightaway.

Then the male dental assistant…a first for me… called me in. I was sitting sipping water and quite well dressed and well presented if I do say so myself, wearing an art deco styled tunic in greens with black leggings and a bottle green tshirt under the tunic. Black sandals and an off white lace cardi coat completed the outfit. So it is always a surprise for medical staff and others when they see me get up and attempt to walk.

This lovely male dental assistant took my handbag and everything off me to assist me immediately he saw me hobbling. He commented that was some incapacity and was it recent. So I explained the mesh implant and how it had entrapped my nerves causing Drop Foot and other issues. Angharad the dentist and the lovely chap were pretty stunned.

My mouth is looking pretty good apparently. Apart from a chunk of bone Angharad picked out after numbing that side of my face with gel. She then arranged for me to see a Dental Technician to have two dentures fitted, one top and one bottom. And also a referall to Sydney Dental Hospital for implants.

I then started to make my way back to the bus stop to return home and found I was having a lot of trouble moving my left leg. It is the one with the drop foot but this was more the whole leg would not work which is the Cervical Stenosis at its worst. Lesson learned, too many dental appointments not good for me and I need to get a taxi or a lift back.

For some reason it reminded me of when my dad and I were in Swansea after seeing his GP and having a coffee in Cozzies. We waited outside Cozzies for over two hours for a taxi. I called and called and not one of them would come down from Belmont to Swansea. I was getting frantic as I could not leave dad alone as he had no road sense due to dementia but I could feel my Colostomy Bag filling up. I was really horrified when it burst open. I rang one final time and let Newcastle Taxis have it, telling them I had a demented man sitting waiting beside me near the Pacific Highway and I had just burst my Colostomy Bag.

Of course dad was horrified by my bag bursting. He said I could go find a toilet but I could not leave him and I could not take him into the disabled toilets nearby as he would be even more horrified if he saw my stoma and what I had to do to clean up the mess.

Luckily a lovely taxi driver who works out of Belmont took pity on me then and was there very quickly and drove us the short distance to Cave’s Beach. He ignored the awful smell and apologised and gave us his card so we could call him directly in future.

Today I waited outside Belmont Citi Centre and again there were no taxis as it was changeover time and the few cabs there were usually picked up schoolchildren from various places. I decided to try to walk home but needed to rest. The looks from people had been horrified as they saw me dragging myself across the carpark.

So as I sat I reflected on the fact that this time I was resigned, not panicked as I had been five years ago about getting home. This time I did not have a demented dad relying on me for everything and who was unable to get the bus or walk up the two hills.

This time I only had myself to deal with. However my precious son came and met me at the Centre. Looking very concerned at my face. He does not have to look at my legs or tummy, he can read everything on my face. I so very much wish he did not know how to. But he has been exposed to so much pain and suffering since we have been up here that he just gets it. And how proud I am of him, the way he went and bought me an iced coffee to sip while he popped to the post office. Knowing that when he came back we would be able to get home without a taxi as there are lots of benches on the way home to rest upon. Which is what we did, he had brought my walking stick with him and I walked on the grass verge and it was a lot easier than the pavement.

Am resting now, thankful for the lesson my body gave me. And eternally grateful to have such a wonderful son.

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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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