Life One Handed

All posts in the Life One Handed category

Confession

Published November 19, 2018 by helentastic67

Confession

Confession

Now, this may come as a bit of a surprise and I realise I’ve yet to do the ‘everyday person’s’ explanation of the difference between TBI/ABI/MY ABI/AVM so presuming I can keep it short and sweet (when have I ever).

Difference

AVM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m lucky I’ve not had trauma to my brain, I’ve not been cut into (not my brain anyway). This has allowed me the ability to retain a great many things. Memories from before breakfast today, my greater independence financially and my ability to plan and execute. All to which helps me stay independently living by myself. Kapish (I think that is Italian for ‘understand’)

Kapish

However, I think all of the above might work against me sometimes, when dealing with (is there a polite word for this? Anyone?)

INCOMPETENCE

Incompetence

Sweet Jesus!

No really, this week I’ve been asked at a train station if I was staff, and a staff member in uniform had just been talking to me and then this incompetent woman came up to me claiming to be doing a ‘survey’. FARK

Incompetance

What? I’ve gotta do your job too now?

I didn’t get enough sleep last night and by the time I left my chiropractor, my left eye was hurting (that’s my version of a migraine these days, hurts like hell, but allows me to keep getting around to do all my “things”) WHERE ARE MY DRUGS? I left asking the receptionist who was on over the weekend. Most good chiro’s if they don’t fix the problem in that visit and you still have symptoms the following day, they will see you again ‘free of charge.’

Where are my drugs

I was told the two girls (who own the practice) are away for Easter. I enquired who was covering? The Associate? The Associate, is a lovely younger guy I can bond with over “The Walking Dead” and GOT (Game of Thrones) Her reply – “Oh, I don’t know, I haven’t asked him yet.

Receptionist

Do I have to do everything?

Do I have to do everything

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Good Deeds

Published November 16, 2018 by helentastic67

Good Deed

Good Deeds

I did a good deed today and I felt good about it. That’s not why I did it. But, it’s all the little good things in life and the everyday that helps the upside of life with depression. We always need to remember or be reminded to really enjoy the good moments.

I did a good deed

So, my good deed, I hear you ask?

I went into the city today, ironically, I was going to the ‘late’ AGM of the Self Advocacy group I am somewhat part of. Will have a migraine by the end of the day worse than I have at the start of the day, but I digress.

AGM

I cut through Degraves Street to Flinders Lane and arrived early at my destination. When I returned later only one of the two homeless guys remained. I had returned to Degraves Street to get some lunch, knowing I needed ‘something’ but not wanting anything huge.

Degraves St Melbourne

I bought a toasted ham, cheese and tomato sandwich and decided to give half to the homeless guy with his dog. I briefly considered asking him if he was a vegetarian or would be ok to eat ham?

Homeless guy and dog 1

There is a story Debra Lee Furness told on a TV interview once about giving a homeless guy in New York a BBQ chicken once, that she gave it to him, he told her he was vegetarian. (Apparently being homeless doesn’t change that) Debra Lee Furness (hey, she married Hugh Jackman) stated the BBQ chook had been organic and very expensive.

Deborra Lee Furness

Me on the other hand, my generosity more in line with my financial standing. At the café, I put in my order and asked if they could cut it into quarters and wrap half in a bag and the other half in another bag. They looked at my strangely.

I explained my intention and the wait staff told me it depended how busy the cook was. But luckily, he made it happen. I received my keep cup (of my medicine) and the two bags (half put in my bag) and hobbled over to the man with his dog. There was a small plastic container on the ground of water for the dog. I asked him if I could give him the sandwich. I told him it had ham, cheese and tomato in it and that I had been concerned he might not eat meat.

Toasted HCT

He didn’t eat tomato, but he said he was happy to pick it out.

I had to smile.

The dog of course then started to bark. I don’t know who was going to get to eat the sandwich and it doesn’t matter.

Homeless guy and dog

But, sometimes a good deed, a kind word can mean as much to the giver as the receiver and there is always someone with less than we have, yet more problems.

Good Deed Kind Words

The Other Hideous Thing

Published November 12, 2018 by helentastic67

The other hideous thing

The Other Hideous Thing

 So, today I’m following through on a promise from my early Hellonwheels days. I mentioned way back then about there having been two hideous tests or procedures I’ve had, that I did not particularly like. You may recall, my post about the Cerebral angiogram. It was the one I likened to being punched in the head from the inside.

https://hellonwheelslifeonehanded.wordpress.com/2016/12/09/worst-test-ever/

This is the “other” thing I’ve had and ironically, I’ve had this thing twice also.

However, I need to premise this by mentioning the back story. I will attempt to keep it brief. No promises.

Make no promises

After a few years of smashing out Life One Handed after a while, ‘things’ start to breakdown. Wish someone had told me to prepare for that.

Now, this describes a time frame from literally the 6th January 2011, to the 11th November in the same year. Early January, I lifted a heavy suitcase of my tech toys (laptop, hard drives etc) from the floor to my bed, to more easily unpack it. My lower back did not particularly like it. But it was a process of why-questions.

Why do I always feel I need to pee? (not really)

Why does it hurt to sit down for more than three minutes?

And many, many others.

Lower back pain

My GP Dr Chris (he won’t mind) started me on some muscle relaxants. Didn’t help. Then something else (can’t remember) also didn’t help. I was seeing the physio and OT at the time and one of them started massaging the back of my right leg. (my good leg) because that’s where the worst pain was and she was working on that spot until I wanted to slap her.

So needless to say, I was getting test on my good leg. Other random tests and things, I can’t even remember now, and over the course of the year we found the diagnosis after an MRI of my lower back, the answer to all the pain was I had a DISC BULGE in my lower back, at L5 (I think).

Bulging disc

After diagnosis, we worked at the right pain relief (drugs) and right sedentary lifestyle. At the time, I still lived in Clifton Hill on the other side of Hoddle Street.

Clifton Hill is where I spend every Wednesday for lunch and see my chiropractor. I would scooter to my chiro every week and while I went full pelt through the park to get to my appointment, When I got to traffic lights, I had to stand up to give my lower back a stretch. (walking through the park took too long and I always feared I wouldn’t make it home to the toilet.) Yeah, good times.

Fear of not making it to toilet

Anyway, the Happy Place with pain meds for me was Oxy, Oxy, Oxy. (As I call it) Slow release Oxycontin twice a day and when I had to get up off my bed to go anywhere, I would slam some short term, but fast release stuff. Endone 5mg (gives me about thirty minutes) and it’s no silver bullet. 5mg of Oxy norm gives you about three hours and that’s on top of 20mg or 10mg of the Oxycontin. Who knows that happens when you take a shit load of pain meds?

That’s right Constipation!

Constipation

I’m going to imagine my followers don’t require me to explain this displeasure. But my point here is, I don’t understand when people tap out of life taking pain meds, when they just can’t deal with life, when it means they can’t have a good bowel movement.

So, it would seem I have covered the pre-stuff sufficiently.

Now, the horrid thing.

To buy time, the medical system should you be in the public system and once you are ‘pilled’ up to your eyeballs and constipated to hell and back. They still won’t schedule you for surgery until they give you a Nerve root injection. Sounds like something a dentist night give you. But no, my first (yeah, had two of these things also: NOT frigging happy). The procedure goes like this.

Nerve Root Injection

You are wearing underwear and a gown that does up at the back. Isn’t it always the way?

Lying face down, I had been told I would be given an epidural. My sister (the weird grumpy one) Oh, wait that’s both of them.

After the procedure, she suggested I enquire “where’s my baby?”

Wheres my baby

I delivered the joke to a very still silent room. The young and old Jewish doctors didn’t get it. I looked at the only female in the room and she gave me a weak smile. “Tough crowd”

So, firstly they give you a local in my lower back. Now, it’s been a few years since I’ve had a local anaesthetic, but in between we forgot how much they hurt. They STING. Sweet Jesus! I’m told it’s because the need is so fine. So, after the local and long enough for that to kick in. The younger Jewish doctor tells me ‘You will just feel some scratching’. Well, that turns out to be a lie.

Local Aneasthtic

He rammed the next needle into my lower back. Now, anyone dealing with pain, the best advice is to battle through it. But, I couldn’t. I was told to keep perfectly still while they tortured me.

But, wait there’s more.

They pushed the table I was on into the CT machine and moved behind me to do a scan. He left the room for a moment to check the scan with the older doctor, then returned saying the words “We’ve definitely heading in the right direction” a little to chipper about it, I thought as the local had done ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! Then telling me to be still, he drove the needle in further.

New Root Injection 1

Then another CT scan and another pointless comment about scratching, which I feel I’ve already covered was the worst understatement ever. Then ramming of the needle again before being injected with the ‘Steroid’. (I forgot).

After the torture was over, I was told I could get up and I asked what next? “Oh. you can just go.”

What?

My mum came into help me dress and I sat with her for five minutes, to gather my thoughts.

I was just happy I had not sworn, but seriously – FUK, FUK, FUK, FUK. Not enough of those in the world that day.

Fuk Fuk Fuk

Overall, considering the pain and torture and the promise of pain relief, it was under delivered. No pain relief and despite being my hospital that had done my radiation treatment. No Surgery.

Next I was booked to have one at another hospital that was closer to home and my side of town. Again, despite knowing what to expect. Didn’t like it any more than the first.

Amusingly after the second Nerve root test (injection) they insisted I stay lying down in recovery for an hour. Lying down! After my first injection at another hospital, they basically told me to get out. (politer than that, but still). After ramming a needle into my back while I was conscious and while not on any Oxycontin. Plus I had to pee.. Was not happy.

Need to pee

Ladies, you know the routine? Well, I was offered a bed pan. They then offed me a bedpan in a chair in the corner. “oh, well close the curtains”

Just “HELL NO!”

Hell no

They then offered me a walker, to get to the toilet. I don’t know what part of me told them we had time to debate this. I really had to go. Just pee, but still.

They did not have any idea why I rudely insisted they get the walker away from me. They insisted. I know now rude I seemed but I’m one-handed. How was I going to use that walker?

They finally bought me a wheelchair and took me to the toilet.

All of this under the watchful eye of my mother.

Watchful eye

NB – Did I mention I was offered a third one of these? Yeah, same place as the first one.

I was given a student, and she seemed to hear me, but went and got the senior dude on that day. (He did not listen so he doesn’t get qualification acknowledgement as he wanted someone with way less experience to get to stab me in my back!) He came in and said “Oh, I think we’ll start with a nerve root injection?”

And I think they just didn’t prioritise me for surgery because I refused to let them keep practicing on me.

no-back-surgery

 

Not Robin

Published November 9, 2018 by helentastic67

Not Robin

Not Robin

Later that day, the young ‘child’ it’s an affectionate term for my young carer who loves the reward stickers for the schools from the supermarket. (It’s a kiddy commodity to get the school certain rewards, usually sports equipment etc)

Reward stickers 1

As we are driving, our conversation sometimes goes like this –

“So, she bought tickets for her mum (who sounds like my age) to go see a concert on Sunday night. Oh? Who are you going to see? Robin Williams. No, I shake my head. It can’t be him. Try again. Oh, he has a? It’s definitely Williams. Oh, was he in Take That? (my bad, she wasn’t born then) Is it Robbie Williams? Yeah! I think it’s that.

Robbie Williams

Oh, sweetheart, she’s going to see Robbie Williams, I mean he’s ok, not my cuppa tea, but good on her. I imagine she’s going to be very embarrassed by her mum reliving her youth.

Robbie Williams 1

Can’t wait to see my young carer on Friday to ask her how it went.

Friday

Rehab – Part 6

Published November 5, 2018 by helentastic67

Rehab Part 6

Rehab Part – 6

I have carers, as you know who take me shopping and even my morning carer that helps me get ready after my shower, to face the day, they all become my friends. It’s inevitable, the ones I can’t crack are usually very reserved, on account of them not planning to put down roots and those don’t plan to stay in the job long term, choosing to move onto other things.

Carer morning routine

When out and about on my shopping adventures, it’s much more like I’m hanging out chatting with a girlfriend.

Shopping adventure

I might have mentioned, my carers are usually older, sometimes younger, rarely my actual age.

I’m now 46 years old and I get along with all my carers regardless of their age.

Carer friends

Off to the supermarket on Friday, I don’t remember what we were discussing when I said “Yeah, well, I finished High School in 1990.”

Supermarket shopping.

And she said

Wait for it.

“I wasn’t even born then”

not born yet

Yeah that just happened and then later that day.

Rehab – Part 5

Published November 2, 2018 by helentastic67

Rehab Part 5

Rehab Part – 5

There are some days, even earlier this morning, I had so much to put down on paper, I wish for the ability to plug into my brain and just download it all.

Download Brain

Had a carer, spent what is for me, the morning having breakfast, making some calls. Ok, leaving messages, prompting me to ask “Does anyone answer their phones anymore?” and after getting out hellonwheels.

Answer phone

Committing to go out on a day that could be better spent at home with the air conditioning on. So out on the scooter, cruising for a bruising.

Cruising for a bruising

Made a quick stop at the local supermarket, spoke to the homeless guy out front for a spell. (He was having an emotional day) His competition at the other supermarket apparently has a home but begs for coins to support his habits.

Homeless

Anyway, I think he was just happy I seemed to know of the kind of organisations he would be able to call on my people to deliver my lovely muffins.

Then to Lucy, my local milkbar that puts my Sunday paper aside. (I know old school) and I met her through her sister Megi who was in the back unit from where I used to live. Megi and I have the free food trade agreement.

Milkbar

Scootering down my old street I met one of my regular peeps, Marri and stopped for a chat. Eventually, off again and it’s taken me ninety minutes to arrive at a café to have a coffee and write. I also delivered Mira the café owner some muffins and she wouldn’t let me pay for my coffee.

Cafe

Just this process of emptying my brain has reminded me of what I was intending to write about.

Empty Brain

Might scooter past Bella and Wilbur on the way home. Do some admin, more calls and try NOT to kip. Great day

No kip

Rehab – Part 4

Published October 29, 2018 by helentastic67

Rehab Part 4 2

Rehab – Part 4

Case Study – Part 2

In rolled the stretcher yet again and again the same transport guys. Number four was sitting up on the bed and she was an elderly lady and truly the poor thing. She had a black and redeye and a hand was all banged up and she needed help to move to a chair while they prepared her bed and the guys and nurses did their handover.

Roommate 4

If you had met this woman in the street, you would think by the look of her eye and hand, she had been mugged in the street for her handbag.

Now, you know I don’t normally mention names, but in this instance, I’m going to because I must. I greeted her warmly and sked her name, the transport guy said “this is Elizabeth” she scowled some and said “it’s Betty”. See, kinda had to.

Betty

I said hello and the guy mentioned the weirdness of the older generation having one name and going by another. I just said “That’s what they do.”

My grandfather was always Jack. He has gone to God now, but when I visited him in hospital years ago after his triple bypass, I was embarrassed to learn he was actually John. WFT people! I never knew.

Anyway, back to Betty.

The arrival of Betty really settled our room. We were a very sociable room. That was my fault apparently, but what can you do.

Betty as a case study (so, non-clinical/medical terms) goes like this. Early eighties, had been in hospital over Christmas for a hip replacement and as this all happened around February, she was just about to go home when she had a fall. She landed on her knee, her hand and obviously her face.

Falls over 1

I did comment to her when she first arrived that she looked like she had been through the wars. She had actually, the second World War, but that’s another story and not mine to tell. Anyway, Betty settled in, in the bed closest to the door next to mine.

I gave her the induction and introduction of the room and like everyone else, when she asked me what was wrong with me, (why does everyone ask me that?) I pointed to the cast on my left leg, but said “Brain Injury”. You know it led to a longer explanation, but that was later.

Brain injury

I should mention, the day I arrived in rehab I had more visitors (nurses and hospital staff) than I think I’ve had friends visit me since getting my disability. Which says much about both friends and hospitals.

The lovely Betty, had a finger she had mangled in her fall. It was her ‘bird finger’. Luckily, she had not broken it, but it was very swollen and sore. The doctors would do their rounds and ask her to straighten it. When she could she effectively gave the doctors The Bird.

Betty giving the bird

Now, my grandmothers died when I was young and while I’m the age of Betty’s daughters, I felt like she was a grandmother I never had.

Now, I think you all realise I’m very cheeky and being around Betty, I got to turn it up a notch. Betty had, had to move into a nursing home early, on account of her husband’s dementia that had gotten to the point where if not contained, he would wonder off.

Grandmotherly

She was living in a suburb called Sunbury, to which I told her my nickname for the suburb was Scumbury. I didn’t make it up, but I’m still using it. It’s the Australian way, I’ll do a post one day to explain. Again, another day.

The nasty bruise around her eye, they gave her some cream, which stung. So, I introduced a nurse and Betty to my Arnica. When the doctors commented the bruising was going away and they would continue their cream for treatment, Betty tried to tell them it was my cream that they were using. The friendly nurse joined in our secret by reporting they would use some more of ‘the bad cream’. We all knew the nurse would continue using my cream.

Arnica

When in hospital, your medication is kept in a locked drawer beside your bed. (not all of them, but most of them) They dish them out into little plastic cups and while I’m quite competent and manage my own medications at home, they weren’t familiar with any of the alternative brands and pills. Often relying on me to do the, one of those, one of each of those, two on those and that one. I collected the little cups, I didn’t have a reason, but they sure came in handy.

One night early on in Betty’s stay, I was sitting in bed with my curtains drawn (we all did) and I heard this weird “whooshing sound”, more than once and I couldn’t work it out. I asked Betty if she could hear it too? She said it was her, she was sending emails on her phone. See! Can you see why I disclosed this woman’s identity? She’s my kinda people. Very tech savvy.

Plastic medicine cups

Those cups started coming in handy also, as when she went to bed, I would go stand beside her curtain and piff one over at her. Yes, you heard me and another under her bed, I would get a giggle out of her and do another until she sternly said “stop that”. You know I followed that with another for good measure. Oh, good times.

A councillor/Social worker type visited Betty once and I saw her approach Betty who was sitting on the chair beside her bed. The young lady, half squatted in front of her, so it looked like they were on the same level. Now, she could have pulled up a chair or even sat on the edge of her bed. I later did an impersonation of her saying she could have even stood up to speak to her. It wouldn’t have meant she was talking down to her.

Falls over

I did hear part of the conversation they had, the Social Worker asked her where she lived and asked if it was good? I couldn’t help my shot, Betty had a little laugh. The curtains were pulled closed as if that helped. I did apologise, but I made myself scarce. I don’t know of any older person who looks forward to going to live in a nursing home. So, I had thought it a ridiculous question.

My last day, I was discharged around 10am, I had slept badly, my mum was late coming to collect me and I’d stripped my own bed. Betty let me snooze on her bed. She was a sweetheart.

Before I left, when Betty was out of the room, I snuck all the plastic cups I had collected into her bed. I swear to God, five minutes after I’d gone she messaged me to tell me I’d not done a very good job, she had found them straight away.

Discharge

 

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