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Really Wrong

Published April 18, 2022 by helentastic67

Really Wrong

And then there’s where it goes really wrong.

Sometimes, when I get a new carer and I do my induction phase and ask how long they have been a carer and who they have worked for. I get an early impression they are ‘Good People’. “Oh, you have done palliative care”

Then I work out she loves an environment she doesn’t take direction; she takes over, which is fine if the mum is dying and the husband is just trying to cope, the kids are losing their mum and their dad is not completely there either. 

That’s not my home and they can’t shift gears to cope. Nobody comes into my home and takes over; I don’t need that. This particular carer, some ten years older than me. Very early I worked out, did not have friends her own age. So, she quickly got all the naughty girl talk sorted. Even when I do that talk with my carers, I try to keep it G rated and I worked out she was a complete narcissist.

This woman very obviously wanted to leave early on a Friday so she could go be with her 13-year-old daughter. She did helicopter parenting via phone while she was meant to be out shopping for my groceries, then doing my home care (cleaning). When I mentioned while out with her that I have a blog, she rather loudly enquired if I was going to write about her. I did not answer, already knowing if and when I did, she would not be bothered to read it, nor would it be complimentary.

The nail in the coffin was at some point and when it comes, it’s the final straw. The week I took Jemima to the vet the final time back in 2018 and I made the decision hastened by the fact that I had tickets on the Friday to see a band in my neighbourhood I have loved from my teens and while Jamima had been getting older, I’d been putting off the decision and she might have lived longer, I felt I couldn’t enjoy going out for the evening and enjoy myself if I was concerned about Jamima at home. It was a shitty, rough week, I cried before, knowing I was going to have to do it, I cried before I even booked, I cried. Let’s just say I cried. Shitiest week ever.

On the Friday, I had the carer from Hell, who tried to cheer me up by saying it would be a good night and I deserved it as a distraction. I’m picking up the thread of this post three weeks later, let’s see if I can do it justice. Anyway, so Friday carer arrived after a shitful week of saying goodbye to Jamima and then doing all the spring cleaning and cleaning up after Jamima’s last evening in our home. So, pretty quickly, I told said carer about Jamima going to God! (Apparently the term is crossing the rainbow bridge!) and that I had an exciting night planned to go see a band in my neighbourhood I’d loved from my teenage years.

I kept saying to my carer it was a little hot and sticky, towards the end of her shift so I might need her help after to shower so I could go out feeling fresh and clean. She was one of my standard PC (personal care) carers so it’s not like it was a huge imposition. It is not like she hadn’t seen me naked before.

We went shopping, we did all the standard hunter/gathering and towards the end of my shift. Always planning to have a shower, I made notes to do so. This carer often became very distracted around 4pm, which is about the time her kids get out of school. That’s when she’d be checking her phone all the time and the helicopter would lift off. She had a 13yr old and her behaviour altered around her noticeably. Offering to water plants then ignoring me and going ahead and doing it anyway and ignoring me asking her to stop. My indoor plants are a very careful balance of how much/how often. So, I think she just wanted me to dismiss her early so she would still get paid.

A friend dropped in to commiserate with me over Jamima. She had been a carer through the council and had loved Jamima from the first time she met her, threatening one day she would leave here with a big bulge (of Jamima) in her pants pocket. I told her if she could get her in there, she was welcome. She also had a cat the same age as Jamima so was grieving her cat that would one day soon cross the rainbow bridge also.

While I had a visit from Mrs T, I closed the door to the lounge so I could have a moment of peace from the carer who was getting paid to be there. She did not like being left out. She pushed open the door separating us to join the conversation.

“I know how you feel!”
“Yeah!”
“That pearler!”

Then she told us how she once had to take the tube from her son’s throat surgery years earlier. Now, we all know it’s not a mother’s job to take a tube from their child’s throat after they have had an anaesthetic or surgery, right? If you are unsure? The answer is no. It’s the doctors or nurses’ job, because your kids will hate you for doing it, the doctors and nurses get paid for the privilege. Your mum has the soothing and parenting jobs/roles you love them for. You have a Boo-Boo? Mum kisses it to make it all better. FFS!

Anyway, not digressing at all. Mrs T departed and I was sad and the night was young. So, I made a move to have a shower, the carer on shift had not been at all interested in assisting me when I finally headed to the bathroom, she decided to tell me she was reluctant to assist me. She decided to be very passive aggressive obviously and inform me if I’d wanted to change some of the shift, I should have informed the office, which by this stage it was Friday after 5pm, so it was closed.

What a stress I did not need, she helped me, but it was very obvious by her behaviour it was imposition on her that she complete her shift and help my get ready. She left, I made coffee, got ready and my friend came when it was closer to the time the venue was to open, we left to go see the band.

It was early. Daylight savings so it was still daylight, the venue was the Thornbury Theatre and I was going to see MIdge Ure, whom you may or may not know from the 80’s synth pop band Ultravoxx. If you are into something a bit less beaty (and electronic) are cruise and good to sing along to. Try this:

https://midgeure.bandcamp.com/

It was great, I bought the CD.

After the gig we walked home again. My friend walking ahead of me to cut through all the spider webs spread across the paths doing her best 1980’s goth arm waving. It was still light out and the streets were quiet. Got home. My friend left and I cried. I missed Jamima.

So, this is what you do to solve having a fucking shitty carer. Monday, I rang the agency and asked to put a block on her. I was asked why? So, I told her, I had a decent rapport with my rostering woman, as I always make sure to do. She was surprised, to be honest she deserved an incident report, but I was just happy to not have her again.

Unfortunately, I’d left a CD in her car, offering to loan it to her so she could listen to something a bit different. It was the BEST DEPECHE MODE CD EVER, Ii’s circa ‘88! (called Violator).

I didn’t buy my CD copy until about ‘92 but it was an old favourite. I have all DM CD’s but by far this is the standout best album. I tried to get back my CD but she didn’t respond to my texts and when I escalated it to management, they told me if I’d offered it to her as a friend it was my loss. So, soon I changed all my services from them to my current two providers, with who I’ve barely had an issue.

Over three years have passed and I recently was in a box of CD singles and came across said missing CD. Would never have looked for it there, the carer had bought it in and snuck it in a box. She must have not intended to return. Stupid Cow! No, she deserves worse.

Efficient

Published December 16, 2019 by helentastic67

Efficient

How to learn valuable life lessons and the value of efficiency? Learn to do things one-handed.

The End!

No really, I see a series coming up.

Back in the busy days of my teenage years, I started to have some weakness in my left arm, when doing evening cuppa T (tea) duty, family was impatient and didn’t appreciate me taking my time bringing one cup in at a time from the kitchen to the loungeroom (not far for Christ sake. Be patient).

So, I carried two cups and my left-hand shook, spilling some tea. The carpet (shagpile from the 70’s) was far from immaculate, I was growled at. Then I was instructed to dip my left shoulder a bit. It didn’t help.

But, the moral of the story is, from seventeen years of age I started being much more efficient one-handed. I didn’t stop using my left, I just favoured my right.

I could touch type, however years later in my early thirty’s if I was holding a phone to my left ear while chatting with a client, I could type much more efficiently right-handed, even with only three fingers (thumb, little finger and pointer finger). Still can, had years of practice.

 

Today’s Lunch – 14th August 2019

Published August 14, 2019 by helentastic67

Today’s Lunch

Good Mental Health Day

Oh my God, is this week over yet!? I cancelled my osteo appointment Monday. It was cold and I needed a long weekend.

Yesterday, I had my follow-up with the sleep clinic. Not a sleep over just an update with the specialist. I checked in and went back out to get a coffee. Thought today I might give you a recap in photo form of my appointment yesterday? I don’t consider myself particular photogenic as I look in the mirror these days and think it is what it is. So, your welcome!

Me before coffee…

 

 

After medicine!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And before I get to today’s offering. You may recall, the lovely Caroline my masseuse has been in Italy. She’s been doing a little gardening while her husband has been doing some maintenance. I think it’s safe to say neither know how to do Holiday.

 

They are in Casole d’Elsa 11K from SAN Giminiano. South of Florence, north of Siena. And I’m quoting her directly, it is too crowded to go there this time of year. She took these photos just for me yesterday.

 

And finally, today’s offering is a homemade sausage roll with a burning chilli chutney with side salad and medicine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m in Thornbury today at Cafe Crunch as I was running out of time. So, I’m close to acupuncture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cheers,
H

Today’s Lunch – 5th June 2019

Published June 5, 2019 by helentastic67

Today’s Lunch

 

Good Mental Health Day

Another week!

Actually, had Tuesday at home this week. Multitasking one-handed like a pro. Very good thing I have both a mobile and a landline as I used both at the same time to catch up on serious admin/organizing & negotiating. Also managed to write some posts ahead of printing and posting to my blog administrator next week.

Cleared up the trays that cover my coffee table and my couch. A calm mid-week lunch in my punchy-stabby day.

 

Today’s offering is a Bolognaise Arancini with side salad and my medicine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And this, I don’t know what it’s called, but how could I not? And yes, I’m sharing it!

Cheers,
H

 

 

Hostage

Published December 24, 2018 by helentastic67

Hostage

Hostage

There is a reference I often make to what it’s like having a disability and I’m certain people who have more severe disabilities than I, feel this way.

Disability Hostage

Now, I also premise this by saying I’m pretty sure my family don’t read my blog. So I’m good to go. I can write what I like.

Let me just say, the breakdown of my family is this. My parents are both still amongst the living (not complaining), they divorced when I was about twenty-five and I knew it was coming for the ten years before that. I have an older sister by two years, who I see once or twice a year (she lives closest), I have one surviving younger sister (16 years younger) who lives with my mum. My parents both live three and half hours drive away, my father, I see at Christmas when I’m up that way. He won’t travel to Melbourne to see me and if in town, he won’t bother to visit either. He has not seen most of the places I’ve lived, in the last twenty years. I think he’s seen one, he doesn’t call me, I call him.

Family

I speak to my mum twice a week and while that’s five times less than it used to be, we got along much better than we used to. Mum comes down every so often for serious appointments and such.

Ah, background done. Now to my point!

During smiley holidays and such (Christmas, Easter, what-not) I will go to spend time with family. It’s that or stay at home alone. So, I go and then I lose my independence immediately. I have my mum’s bedroom and I hibernate. I want a shower I have to negotiate when someone is prepared to assist me if I go outside, I generally don’t step off the verandah as the last time I went outside my mum called to me: “If you go for a walk be careful by the water tank there’s a snake over there!” I promptly went back inside to relative safety. Motivation to go anywhere is hard to draw on.

Snakes

To go anywhere requires someone to drive me either twenty minutes to a decent meeting place with medicine(coffee) or an hour where I can arrange to meet friends who might visit family once a year at Christmas time. Any of these adventures requires money I don’t have and logistical nightmares of being able to get home again when I need it.

Drive for coffee

I put my things in the fridge and when I go to get them out again, two other people have moved them to get to other things and I might be standing in just the wrong spot/angle and my things are in my blind spot and I can’t see the forest for the trees.

Fridge

The environment is a very comfortable space for the two that live there and throwing me into the mix I feel terrible to put someone out to be able to join in. Everything I can do to contribute, someone has to move things to prepare for me and I feel more of a hindrance than an adult. So, I hibernate.

Hibernate

Oh yeah, where I spend Christmas, I’m also socially isolated by other means, no mobile reception, I divert my phone and if they can’t remember their wi-fi password I’m screwed. So, hostage. Like I said.

Christmas Hostage

 

Favourite Things

Published December 14, 2018 by helentastic67

Favourite things

Favourite Things

I would think this would be common for all people with an ABI, but people don’t realise the emphasis and importance on ‘sleep’.

Importance of sleep

So, I seriously think my top five favourite things would be;

  1. Sleep
  2. Sleep
  3. Sleep
  4. Sleep
  5. Sleep

Sleep

Ok, but seriously, in no particular order.

  1. Sleep
  2. Food
  3. Cooking
  4. Coffee/cup of tea
  5. TV

No Particular order

Oh, I know I cheated, putting two together, but I had to keep room for having a cat, which still didn’t fit.

Having a cat

Looking back over my life, the way I often dealt with stressful times, I would sleep.

Life

Damn it and internet.

Internet

Efficient

Published November 23, 2018 by helentastic67

Efficient

Efficient

In many ways’ life had prepared me to ready and deal with Life One-Handed. There were subtle signs when I was about sixteen and on nightly coffee/tea duty for the family. I couldn’t carry two mugs at once without spilling the left one. I didn’t have to carry it for 6-7 metres from the kitchen to the lounge, but spill it, I did.

Spilled coffee

Mum would watch me coming and say “Drop you left shoulder” had nothing to do with it really, but life went on. But there were those signs that screamed DO NOT WORK IN HOSPITALITY and occasionally, at work (I was a checkout chick at the Super Cheap Supermarket, so cheap they no longer exist) they put me on the left-handed checkout. No idea why, but there you go.

Left Handed

But until my diagnosis, when I was thirty-four, everything I did kinda moulded me to be very efficient with my time and energy.

These days, I leave the house just in time for lunch (by normal people standards) and I’ve made calls, done internet banking and gotten it “ALL” together.

Normal People lunch

Wednesday’s are a perfect example. I scooter to my last appointment, which is local to home (weather permitting), walk a small block to rendezvous with Young John. (I negotiate with him over breakfast exactly what time he can squeeze me in)

Young John taxi

On the way, I dropped a doona into the dry cleaners to be pressed ($6.00) Young John scoops me up and drops me down to Clifton Hill.

Today, I had to start at the Post Office to pay a few bills, I crossed to my favourite lunch location. Note; I do not mention it by name. Yeah, that’s on purpose. I have a few Melbourne followers these days and it’s sometimes hard enough to get a table and I do love the way they greet me by name when I arrive and when I depart. I mean, that’s what you get by being a regular. Right! Anyway, I take photos of lunch finalise my Wednesday lunch post and email to Noelle.

Favourite Cafe

Generally, I inhale lunch and my medicine (Latte) and maybe write a post.

Off I hobble to my chiropractor and if I’m early I will make a few calls, cull some emails, reach out to some friends as part of my “Good Mental Health Day” regime.

Good Mental Health Day

I see my chiro, then bolt for the tram, often texting whatever on the way. I arrive at acupuncturist get stabbed, eight times, have a little kip (that a bit British for a nap) then scooter home. Often stopping at a few local suppliers on the way.

Little Nap

Check the letter box, without getting off my scooter and picking up an empty box from the supermarket for recycling. (I’m a bit green, you see) The box also comes in handy to get things upstairs from the scooter shed to my apartment. I’ve even worked out a way to (once in the lift) put the box on top of the hand rail, put my leg against it so it won’t fall, using my ONE GOOD HAND, swipe my card and push the button.

Scooter

Once out of the lift and at my apartment door, I use the same technique to hold the box against the wall while I open the door. Putting whatever I’m carrying on the floor can be very stressful on my lower back and that’s the last thing I need.

So, efficiency is the key.

Efficiency is the Key

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

Today’s Lunch – 10th October 2018

Published October 10, 2018 by helentastic67

Todays Lunch

Today’s Lunch

Good Mental Health Day

People often think people with disabilities don’t have a sense of humour, they would be wrong. Made the best disability joke yesterday and only two people were there to witness it. I was at Ross House where the self-advocacy group, I go to is located. All the resident organisations are not for profit (NGO’s) The lift is old and small and slow, there are stairs. I’ve never used them. There are four floors and with my young carer who normally escorts me shopping and cooking on Fridays in the lift and a complete stranger, the lift seemed to stop every floor on the way down yet there was no one there to get on the lift. I muttered to my carer as to why the lift kept stopping without anyone joining us? “Someone probably pressed the button and they got sick of waiting and took the stairs but, I can guarantee you it’s not someone in a wheelchair!” Yeah, I went there.

Disability humour

Wednesday has started a bit differently. No water in the whole apartment complex until after 1pm so lunch will be after my only appointment and I think it’s about time I put a myth to rest, I wrote in an earlier post how I dislike the “Like”. It may have been taken out of context. I love the “Like” I have only two ways to tell if people read or like my posts. I know it sounds needy, however, hit me with a “Like and comment” I need to be validated too. Oh, yeah! I just hit 200 followers. I know, it’s not that many to some of you. I still get excited by every single one. I go check out what you have to write about and hit you up with a “Like” so you know I dropped by. If you write about something I’m interested in or feel I can support you I will follow you also.

Like

Eventually I got out on Hellonwheels to get to my only appointment, which was to get stabbed, that being acupuncture. In true Melbourne style it’s spring. So, t-shirt weather if you are lucky to be in the sun but not catching the wind. I couldn’t wait to get home to put on some warmer clothes. I stopped to collect a little cannoli and a French donut (it’s got custard in it) and stop at the post office.

French donut

No photos today.  But I can show you some cute toys I bought Mika last Friday. You have already shown more interest in her new toys by reading this. Except, well I think I don’t need to describe what obviously happened here.

Mika toys

Need more coffee, much more coffee! Medicine!

Coffee

 

Milk

Published August 13, 2018 by helentastic67

Milk

MILK – for want of a better tittle.

Have you ever wondered about the cost of milk? Often there are lots of hidden issues with having a disability that the average person wouldn’t consider. Now, it’s going to annoy me to explain the intricacies on this very simple topic, but I’m by all means not crying over spilt milk.

Spilt milk

I shop with a carer every Friday, they collect me from home and drive us to my local shopping complex. It’s not a huge Westfield, so thankfully has the basics of what I need. Butcher, baker, candlestick maker. Supermarket, you know.

Shopping list

 

Whatever, foodwise I’m going to need I must get or I run out, paying more for it at a smaller independent supermarket, carrying it around for a period of time or risking it spoiling because it’s out of a fridge for too long, like milk.

Shopping list

About once monthly I buy an extra litre of milk, so I don’t run the risk of having to resort to using sweetened Condensed milk in my coffee. Year, nice but that’s diabetics right there.

Condensed Milk

The following Friday arrives and I check the fridge for my supply of milk. Sometimes I’ve still got an unopened bottle. The Use by date is the following day, now being unopened, it’s possibly going to last beyond the Use by date, but can I be sure.

Check fridge 1

Lately, I’ve been joking if I eat something I’ve had in the fridge a little too long and I ask if the worst that happens is I spend the night on the toilet and loose five kilos, that’s a lazy diet right.

Getting sick

So, I throw out the milk, which is wasteful and go shopping and get more. Maybe the guilt plays on my mind so I under stock milk and the next week, I ration a bit.

Ration milk

By Wednesday during my busy punchy/stabby/foodie , mental health post day, I need to debate picking up milk in my travels. I am near two independent supermarkets, one of which I walk past later in the day.

If I get one at either of the independent supermarkets, they cost more than a coffee. Outrageous. Aside from the risk of how long the milk should be out of the fridge.

More than coffee

Fun Fact: – Did you know, every degree milk loses (after coming out of the fridge) it loses a day of its shelf life.

Fun fact

The other issue is of course, how I need to carry the milk. I wear a bag that has a strap, which sits on my left shoulder and the bags sits on my right glute. My Gluteus Maximus.

Gluteous Maximus

Despite disc bulge surgery, my lower back is always at risk when carrying anything home, no matter the length of time I carry it.

My lower back twinges and when I get pain down the back of my good leg, it’s a sure sign any heavy lifting or excess carrying of heavy things is temporarily banned.

Lower back pain

So, while to the outside world I’m portrayed or seen as this confident, flexible and mobile semi-broken woman (my term), underneath the cost of a simple litre of milk is either my pocket or my back.

Strong Independent Woman

Both require medication and time out to not spend money. So, that was actually not as painful as I thought. Maybe I didn’t do it justice.

Doing Justice

 

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