Last week at a meeting I contributed my Hot Tip for how I managed to get through the Plague in the last few years. Now it received rave reviews, but I feel like it will be passed on to the intended third party without my name attached. Call me crazy but I like to be given credit where credit is due.
So, well they failed to remember Hell’s got a BLOG! So, I’ll just beat them to it.
My advice –
I thought of friends that might have been more isolated than I was or coping with all the lockdown stuff in Melbourne and all the social isolations, and I rang them, I reached out. I just talked about whatever, and I know the people I chose to do this with appreciated me doing so.
Ironically, because everyone always assumes Hell’s doing OK, no one ever thinks to check on me.
And like sands through the hourglass, another week gone by, you might recall I mentioned a subliminal message would appear in my posts. Yeah, you didn’t miss anything because I failed to mention to my lovely administrator and she edited them out. Seriously, the patience of a Saint has Noelle. Will not forget again
You might also have noticed I mentioned despite all the broken medical system everywhere, I have had two surgeries this year, I mentioned the recent surgery, this is me circling back to the previous surgery.
Late January, I had carpel tunnel surgery, for those of you that might be new to HellOnWheels, I’ve been one-handed since 2007, after the fall-out from the radiation treatment to my AVM (Arterial Venus Malformation) and after a disc-bulge surgery in 2011, with the loss in half my eyesight making my left-sided Hemiplegic all but complete, I had managed to get to fifteen years before living independently one-handed, caused my next surgery to be far more pressing. Part of being naturally right-handed meant I just got on with getting on with life. It may have taken longer, having teased my brain causing migraines. Getting my brain around peeling a carrot one-handed, but you work it out. Try doing that one-handed. That can be this week’s challenge. After years of having osteo, often weekly, the pain in my right palm overnight that would wake me and I would need to get up and shake out my whole arm to release the pressure, so my hand would stop hurting and feeling would return. It was time, before I had nerve damage, a recommendation from my Mum and a call made, I had my referral.
After suggesting I would beg, borrow or steal the dollars required for my surgery, an appointment was booked for not long after. I managed to borrow the money from the Dad Bank. Later paying him $50. Every month and texting him each month when I’d transferred to him.
The actual surgery was only possible because I had it done privately. In his rooms in South Melbourne. His wife providing the reception duties. I had hoped to go through the public system even going back to the country town I’m from and my surgeon was also from. But, time was rather important, not wanting to risking any nerve damage. The surgery was performed with two local anaesthetics, while I was awake. I confess, I had my eyes closed. He was working on my right hand after all and my peripheral vision on my right is definitely my sharpest and I could see him over my hand. The tool was like a knitting needle where a blade came out from inside to cut the tendon in the top of my hand, that he had diagnosed from performing an ultrasound before the surgery. The worsts parts was actually the injections. I always forgot how much they sting. I was wondering if I would swear, but alas I made us all proud; I did not. The surgery was completed in thirty minutes. I will cover this in a bit more detail in a future post, the unexpected and the embarrassing and numerous, but today I’m trying to keep it short and sweet. But while the carpel tunnel issues have been solved, I am noticing little twingy pains and niggles telling me it’s not the end of my right hand issues, this will not stop any time soon.
On Saturday night I posted to my Social’s this, “Its Saturday night and I’m Out – Like Out-OUT! It blew up well, it was well-liked immediately.
These days, Saturday night is my Single Girl Date Nite when I go off-grid and watch films or try to.
This Saturday I was OUT; I went to see a band I’d like since my days of working in clubs back in the 90’s. I’d not ever seen this band live. The gig had been rescheduled three times due to the Plague. Damn Plague and finally it was here. I should point out back in my club days, I was lucky to be home two nights a week, now I’m lucky to go out two nights a year. God, I feel old.
Preparation to get out in the dark (I can’t see in the dark, if you recall) starts earlier than normal and the ritual of getting ready to go out is harder due to that only doing the ritual twice a year. The Ritual being the excitement of getting ready, choosing an outfit. The make-up, etc, etc. and the pre-event tunes.
Anyway, once near the venue my friend dropped me at a corner to wait while she parked down a side-street, so I didn’t need to navigate dark streets and uneven terrain. While waiting some twenty-somethings walked past stating “what’s with all the old people out tonight?” Grrr, can’t be talking about me.
Sorry, I digress, once at the venue, my tickets not appearing to be on the door, I left my name and they were happy to let us in. The venue manger introduced himself and I will give him a Pseudonym as I do everyone, I hope he appreciates it. Both for privacy and a play on words. Let’s call him Sriracha. You know the hot sauce? I’m not into chilli and I can say, I need to get out more, even though I hit sensory overload really early.
Anyway, Sriracha lead my friend and I through the band room to a corner of the back where there was a raised area, he bought us two stools to perch on and told us if we needed anything, any of the staff could call him for me. My friend did the drinks run and had a little boogie beside me. She also got me my T-Shirt before my size sold out.
Annoyingly, being height-challenged I could get up onto the stool but it was still the right way to go. At concerts and Gigs I’m a wriggler as well as a light Head-Banger (Not the Heavy Metal kind) I’m not a dancer, even before my disability. Not after I found I could not do the Melbourne shuffle. Makes sense as I do have a Drop Foot.
Here is a link for the first song from my early club days in about ’92. Get ready for some Samples. This is in no way an advert for fast food, but still very catchy.
This song, I believe is German but translates as “I am a foreigner” You can look up what it’s about if you are interested. I travelled around the UK on my only overseas trip back in ’94 to this, good times.
This was their last song before they finished with a cover of the Prodigy paying homage to Keith Flint who passed away in 2019. Prodigy was also a huge influence in all the clubs I went to or worked for in the 90’s.
It’s frustrating for me to need to explain to people who have only known me since my diagnosis and my disability that there was a different version of Helen, who experienced a different culture, lifestyle or had different social networks. That Helen is still inside me and is sassy, outspoken and won’t be pushed around. they just don’t want to be exposed to the great things that I experienced to appreciate this version of Helen they see today; they just want to stay with the normal and what they already know. Not learn anything new.
Friendly reminder, while working in clubs I barely drank, never did party drugs, possibly the only reason I made it to 34 before learning of my AVM. My disability as I like to remind people is NOT SELF INFLICTED.
Was home by 1am, still had chores to do after my friend helped take off my shoes and my AFO (Ankle Foot Orthotic), needed a stiff cuppa T, a Bex and a good lie down. Oh, I’m a 50’s housewife.
I feel a bit like if I didn’t get the Plague Saturday night I’m bulletproof. Still not had it, still not complaining.
Now, late Monday night I’m still catching up so apologies for my delay. Lastly, Queen Elizabeth II, may she R.I.P.
Today, a little secret addition, a subliminal message, imbedded in each post for a bit, see if you can pick it and comment. Hang on there and all will be revealed. (No evil intent I assure you all)
As last week I promised an update on my latest fall and a surgery. Generally, when all I have to do Is put my left foot back, I will be guaranteed to fall. Without fail.
I had taken just a step out of my shower in my ensuite and noticing water snaking across the floor I twisted slightly to reach for the mop that resides there just for this purpose and I think I put a rib out while losing my balance, I started to fall. Like in slow-motion, straight down onto my Ass. I luckily manage not to flail my arms and legs about so that’s something. I did collect the shower stool on my way down on my left, in two places on my back. That didn’t tickle, even weeks later.
My carer came hearing the ruckus and asked two very important questions. 1) Was I alright? Yes, as I wriggled and made squelching noises on the floor of the shower having just missed the ridge of the shower base. That could have been very uncomfortable. And 2) did I want her to call an Ambulance? Hell NO! FYI, they do not get you up and set you on your feet then leave. They get you up and take you to hospital.
My left leg was caught on the edge of the shower screen, the bathroom heater had to be turned off as I would like, burn my left leg before I felt it. Wet! Naked! And trying to work out how I was going to get up. (Try not to imagine that.) It took half an hour for me to commit, the best way for me to get up is to make things worse before they get better. I had to grab my left arm and roll over onto my stomach. Then, up onto my right hand and knees. Bathmat under my knees because the tiles really hurt. I could not straighten my body and I called my carer who I had, had to direct to sit in the chair I had asked her to bring in to my already cosy ensuite. It ended up giving her something to do as the things she had suggested I grab hold of would have made things worse not better. Once more upright, I lifted my right foot to put it under me, my right elbow on the edge of the handbasin and I levered myself up. Ironically, by the time my carer was assisting to dry me, I was already dry.
I had two small patches on my beck, hip and near my scapula that required our family’s Gypsy cream. (To be explained later) Oh, bruised and sore, actually sorer than my bruises suggested I continued my morning as usual and my carer departed. I undid the appointments I had been scheduling at the start of my next shift just close to home. My next carer arrived and as I groaned and swore my way out of my apartment, down the lift, I got halfway to the front door to go out and do my shopping and my carer asked just the right number of times before it was crystal clear I should stay home and let her do my hunter/gathering.
Later that afternoon, I had my weekly chiro appointment, I did get out for and I couldn’t even lie down on the table. She was kind enough to bring the table up to me, before putting it back down. The powers I refer to as the rocket ship launcher she used a lot back in 2011 when I was awaiting disc bulge surgery.
So, I posted a comment about my fall to socials, you know like you do, I got a comment from a family member suggesting I get a bathmat. As in the rubber kind, I replied “have one. Didn’t fucking help!” Is it wrong I imagined family might call to check if I was OK? That did not happen.
On the upside, being sore and bruised meant I could stay home and avoid getting the plague. Elective surgeries get pushed to the back after all the crazy Covid restrictions, don’t need to get bumped by getting the Plague now.
Had the surgery at a Women’s hospital, so being that I’ll keep the details to a minimum. Not a question. Before the surgery, I was told it would hurt as much as surgery to my Virginia. Ladies, sorry if your eyes just watered. Any male readers? Deal with it! Um, meanwhile, thankfully I have not had that kinda surgery, so I wanted another example. She walked away. OK then.
So, a few more weeks I’ve been mostly housebound, happily catching up on TV and sleeping. There is never enough.
This was my second surgery I’ve had this year, but you will need to wait to hear about that one. It was far less torturous in compassion. To be continued…
Lastly, anyone asks what my surgery was about. I’ve been telling them these two words. “Boob Job! NOT GETTING A BOOB JOB!” But it leads to very amusing comments.
Now, for a brief moment I fancied I could imagine a front-page apology from the NGO (Not for Profit/Non-Government Organisation) for removing my blog link from their website despite having been an active member for over ten years. But I didn’t want it like this.
Sadly, it’s not been forthcoming and that general topic is on the back burner as I’m letting the dust settle on it. To be continued.
Meanwhile, this article is about the scooters people hire in the city in the early hours to get themselves home because they are too drunk to make better decisions and get a taxi. Ending up with fines from the police or even worse a visit to the hospital and rehab. You know the ones?
Otherwise, a fall and a surgery to catch you all up on, stay tuned for that next Monday.
I mentioned to a friend these were the conversations I’d been having plenty of. Rather than asking me what these “old and nonsense” conversations were about exactly, he told me I would have them one day.
So, I’ll allow you to pick from this next excerpt which three things qualify this as nonsense old people conversations.
Which I loved by the way because it gave me the perfect opportunity to tease him. Purely a statement.
“I made some brown rice the other day! It’s been about twenty years since I last made brown rice. It took ages! I’m never doing that again!”
Oh My God! Can you just feel that nonsense? It’s my jam. I have recently been making it more than I have in the last twenty years, I think because, while slow to the party, I discovered the rice cooker.
You know I insisted he get one but he’s still got it in the box and I now understand the old people thing about why they keep them in the box even after using it’s so they don’t forget all the bits and pieces that go with each gadget.
Lately I’ve completely nailed how to get the most from my conversations with old people and if you want to know? Just keep reading…
In recent years I’ve timed my outreach calls to my father by booking it every two weeks. I call one fortnight and he is to call me the next. If he doesn’t, I will prompt him with a text… “Your turn!”
Recently, my beautician has mentioned she misses the nonsense old people conversations, so now I call him on speaker when I’m with her being tortured. It starts off dad being rather anxious. My beautician uses a few Italian words here and there which he often needs reminding what she is referring to. It’s a part of his memory he doesn’t use much. My beautician is often hungry as I’ll arrive too early and she has yet to eat.
She asks my dad if he’s had lunch? His response… “I had a sort of salad sandwich!” I hold up a finger to indicate for her to wait. She tells me to let him go. I interrupt him because I smell a rat, please define this word “sort of” and “salad?” I will cut to the chase, there was neither “sort of, nor salad”.
What he had was a very tasty sandwich which was fried chorizo on bread. A great treat I hope he’s not having every day.
Later in the conversation, beautician getting hungry enough to threaten to hit one of us; and not wanting it to be me, we stop talking food. We will mention this myth “sort-of-salad” in a teasing way and we all have a good laugh. In the end he usually tells us when he’s had enough. Beautician laughs and informs him he’s her favourite of my parents.
It’s turned out to be the highlight of my treatments. My torture is in the form of electrolysis to my face. Originally, it was to fix the damage from years on steroids for brain swelling, now it’s for my crazy hormones. I’m not going to be in the nursing home with a beard.
Oh, Australia. Remember we had the fires, then yes, the plague thing, yeah, Melbourne has been through six lockdowns. I think Singapore is the only place that has lived through the same.
We struggled to get our hands on toilet paper and the term Karen was born. Did I mention, that was when I started a liver cleanse? Yeah, that’s right, ME, I made a one-off purchase of the dreaded home brand of Toilet Paper I can guarantee I’ll never revisit. The packaging claimed it was embossed. Um, it was Single Ply, I would have traded that little extra for another ply. Then, we’ve had floods, right.
Everyone caught up.
Now, we have the horrid prices and reboot of boring conversations about which lettuce is best and how much you need to pay to get one.
Seriously, it’s probably easier to get hard drugs. I was faced about a month ago with paying $13 for an iceberg lettuce. That’s my go-to. I had sent a new carer to grab me a lettuce while I got something else. She saw the price and called it out to me. I said “I’m sorry, what!” She repeated and another shopper came over to discuss this ridiculous notion. I recalled a newsworthy story I had seen and I told this other shopper. “Apparently KFC have started substituting cabbage for lettuce” He looked surprised. I told him… “I have to tell you I don’t eat their burgers for the lettuce!” I eat salad for my lettuce and I do like lettuce to be a staple in my crisper.
So, now I’m posting and bragging on social media I managed to get a lettuce the size off my head for $8.00. My last lettuce was down to a tiny heart and I wanted to list it on marketplace for $50 like when some smarty pants posted a Toilet Paper roll with its last two squares.
Lastly, I’ve been having plenty of nonsense old people conversations. But again, more of that later. Yes, it’s worthy of its own post and I haven’t written it yet. Next.
Be nice to nurses, they do get paid but, they don’t get paid enough for you to be a princess or a bitch. (Gee, was that harsh? Brash? Yeah! I don’t care)
If you want a hot meal later in a hospital, be a bit cheeky, not a problem patient, but friendly, humorous and not a pain in the ass. Nurses will go out of their way to help you. That’s an extra.
This is my dessert haul:
My nurse comes around to check my vitals (Temperature, pulse, respirations and blood pressure). So, the next time, I greeted her with “not you again!”
Something I’m surprised at how much I get away with. But I do manage to build rapport really quickly and I do often attract my kind of people quickly. It’s just the contact is fleeting. So, I try to leave a long-standing impact.
On a lighter note, I’ve always been a really social person and on Wednesdays when I’m in the Fields of Fair (Fairfield) at my weekly Chiropractors appointment, I visit the pet shop where I got Mika from (she was a surrendered cat from the Neko Lounge) They also have bunnies. Check out this cute bit of fluff.
Guess his name?
The poor little guy, Stephen.
Just seems mean.
Apparently, it’s a family In-Joke named after an “Aunty”.