family

All posts tagged family

Being One-Handed

Published January 9, 2023 by helentastic67

Being One Handed

I must confess, I sometimes really love it when people take a moment to realise, I’m ONE-HANDED. Over Christmas I was at a small family gathering, which is to say, they have not spent much time around me since my disability/or disabilities.

We were doing a BBQ dinner and cutlery was scares. I confess, the knife is lost on me these days, I asked my cousin to my left to hold the skewer while I used my fork to pull the meat off the skewer. I tried, after a moment, she offered to do both. On my left, my younger sister reached over with her knife and fork to cut up a snag on my plate.

SNAG! Not just a Sensitive New Age GUY! But another name for a sausage.

A great Aussie line is “a BBQ isn’t a BBQ without a sausage!” and when my cousin came back sit down, cutlery was in very short supply. I offered my knife, still clean and untouched. I had to insist, holding my fork in my right hand and suggesting she had a few seconds to work out as to why I didn’t need the knife.

I explained who had helped me and how. When they got it, they got it pretty quickly and I gave them a smile as if to express, ‘It is what it is’. What can I do? Which made it ok that they hadn’t realised these are the simple things.

It has been strange spending time with family who in the last fifteen years haven’t been around me to know all the day to day things about my disabilities.

I know, despite the multi-layered name of my blog I haven’t covered it much. Mostly because, I’m one-handed and thankfully naturally right-handed, so I’ve just gotten on with stuff.

Often, even immediate family I need to remind them of things I just don’t do and this makes me pretty fucking grumpy.



Who thought I’d wrap this blog post up without uttering a swear word?
Not I!




On a Happier Note

Published November 21, 2022 by helentastic67

On a Happier Note

Had such miserable posts of late, but here’s a little something amusing that comes from family spending time together even for the shittiest reasons.

Five ladies taking up residents in my father’s home. We all do our coffee a different way. My sister’s partner on the percolator to make sure everyone had their “Medicine” (as I call it) when they needed it. One morning, well around 10am, I walked past my older sister throwing her a simple question that required little thought to answer. She stood holding her coffee cup asking if I had dared to ask her a question before her morning coffee. My younger sister looked empathetic towards her plight, even though she only has one coffee every day. I told her fair enough and she could get back to me after her coffee.

I later explained to the marker of coffee, “I like to start the day with my natural enthusiasm for life! But I need to have medicine towards the end of the afternoon to get through the rest of the day!”

I think it’s a bit ironic considering I spend every morning looking stoned and I’ve never even smoked a cigarette. Definitely not getting into the Mary Jane.

The bringer of coffee and I got a coffee the day after my father’s funeral at a fantastic cafe/coffee roaster in my hometown and while there we bought a supply of roasted beans. The worker in the café were really good at the customer service, that such roles require, offering us all the different kinds of beans available. I really wanted to suggest, “give us the one for, I’ve had too much Sake last night Asking for a friend.” It wasn’t me driving the porcelain bus at 7am the day after, but enough said.

Hope you get the Up’s and Downs in life right now and can hang in there for me to return to normal programming. Must I remind followers. Please hit Like.

Noelle will be impressed she can post on the Monday, so things are getting back on track, I aim to please.

The Other Worst Week Ever

Published October 26, 2022 by helentastic67

The Other Worst Week Ever

So, this is the last post with the subliminal message, has anyone picked it yet or even noticed? Please comment.

So, last week was the dreaded week of my father’s funeral, worst day ever. First piece of advice, someone offers you tissues. TAKE THEM!!!

Even though I had a friend, who saw my support person handing me a tissue every other minute, it wasn’t enough. 

All the talks-talks, song, light candle stuff for which you think takes forever, it’s over before you know it and I was almost left behind. I did the walk out metres behind his coffin and tried badly to not rush, while desperate not to do the ugly cry. You know the cry where you at least want to bury your face in a hand, so no one witnesses it. You know I use a walking stick in my one good hand right? Yeah, not helpful.

The Funeral Home director asked if I could walk over to the cemetery or if I would need to go over in a car. Wisely, I said yes, car please. He had not been offering me a lift but if I had not been helped into the front passenger seat of the hearse, I would have been left behind. Lovely driver Phil made small talk to take my mind off things. I tried to sell him Dad’s car. But alas, dad no longer has the Valiant Charger in Vitamin C orange. So, that was a fail. 

With all the love and respect in the world, if I ever hear the song by Bette Midler, The Rose it will be TOO FUCKING SOON! Jesus Wept!

Second piece of advice, when trying not to do ugly cry, try breathing in and out of your mouth. Not saying it worked, but it felt like it helped. Lastly, my family gave me the awards Best Worst Ugly Cry and Best Worst Timed Ugly Nose Blow. Charming, no.

The night of the funeral we had a pool party with our cousins around catching up and playing pool. I have cousins I’ve not seen for 30 years. And the most common memory was dad teaching everyone how to hammer in nails into a small off cut of pine. One cousin who has become a builder wants dads hammer, but I have already laid claim to it. What! I think we made dad proud that night.

His house felt like a home because it previously felt like someone had been merely existing there. We will be there for this upcoming Christmas, so I imagine dad watching over us as he promised. I might convince a carer one day to hold a nail for me while with half the necessary eyesight I smack in the nail in the triple tap technique my dad used. I’ll explain that better another time. 

On Sunday, two days later I received the award of 1st Caligiuri Daughter to surface and be reasonably functionable. The household likes to start the day with coffee. I made the statement I prefer to start the day with my own natural energy and you should all be aware I’m NOT A MORNING PERSON. I need to end the day with my Medicine (coffee) so I can get through the rest of the day. 

I guess all the family dysfunction we put off dealing with for one day in the future comes to the foreground when the passing of a loved one happens. Now we have to deal with all of that too. While grieving.

A friend shared a perfect statement with me today “The Price of Love is Grief” 

I know this is not a happy post, but I’ll try better next week when I reveal the reason for the subliminal messages.

The Passing of Time

Published April 25, 2022 by helentastic67

The Passing of Time

Sometimes, time passes, not by anything big that happens in my life, but by the absence of people in my life. Despite, Covid blasting 2020 to hell, Australia started the year in flames (the bushfires) and I don’t spend Christmas 2019 with any of my family, so due to Covid, any of the reasons we would normally get together during the year, they normally travel to Melbourne as it’s central to both outlying parties, but we would normally do a nice exciting lunch, etc. This did not happen in 2020.

But the people who are really my family these days, are my carers. I know, you may think I’m always banging on about my carers, that’s because I see them more. They are consistent in my every day and they see the effort and subtle changes around my home as I maintain my independence.

And sometimes, what they do makes the passing of time for me. One of my carers during Covid took leave for 12 weeks. 12 friggin weeks!

To do a course via Zoom!

“Zoom” The other plague of 2020, I’ve had 1–2-hour meetings of which I’ve found to be torturous. She’s been doing 9-5pm. Just kill me now. KM!!!KM!! KM!!! KM!!!KM!!!

The first few weeks, her two shifts were covered and she picked up my Sunday shift. I sent her off with some foodie goodness to help lighten her load. I told her after zooming all day she would not be interested in cooking.  When she was at the ten-week mark, I was happiest for her because the whole living by zoom thing. And before you know it, she’s only had three weeks left.

So, it’s odd I guess, I don’t have children, which is a busy way to fill your time. I don’t work, which if you’ve ever had to live by a three-month contract timeframe. Three-month contracts, it’s long enough to cause you financial burdens, but not long enough to plan a holiday or big experience, etc.

So, for me, time passes one day after another, after another and it’s FULL of all the appointments, the meetings, the planning for the bigger procedures throughout the year.

A few lunches with friends, maybe out to dinner once or twice and a once yearly comedy event.

You know those posts, I’m sure I covered all the things, but I don’t know how to finish. I am exhausted by all the things that pass time and don’t have the strength or nutrition to improve the things that help me pass the time, but still. Fuck you Covid!

The end.

Welcoming in 2022

Published January 3, 2022 by helentastic67

Welcoming in 2022

So I guess it’s time to say a belated Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, so I suggest as 2022 starts I’m going to make a New Year’s resolution. A simple one and that is to better be able to decipher my own handwriting. As I’ve been one-handed for over 10 years now, I’ve started to develop carpal tunnel so I think this year will be getting much-needed carpel tunnel surgery.  Imagine this means ill have no hands for a bit. A week if all goes well.  To be continued.

January, I learnt years ago, that it is really hard is achieve anything in the Disability sector. So now I just have learned to relax and take time off. Not racing around trying to fit everything in, is a holiday in itself. So much still to do, including the now overdue Ladies Lunch with the Ladies in my family for our Christmas get together. Yeah, I know! Someone recently said, “You get together once a year with family for Christmas and realise why you don’t bother to see them during the year” Yes, a comedian, of course. Covid hasn’t made it any easier, but I think the less time we spend with family the less we have in common and the less we understand how to best communicate.

So, Christmas day I had a migraine because well I don’t get a day off from having migraines.
A friend came over for an hour to set up some tech and three days, later he told me he had to isolate and get tested for Covid-19 he was fine but he was very stressed about the two people he’s going to spend some time with on Christmas Day.

It is summer in Melbourne, I don’t tell many people I am spending Christmas alone, it is better to not  disclose this until after the fact. It doesn’t help when people give you lots of pity, for some people spending Christmas at home alone is better than all the alternatives. In my case staying at home means I get Carers from my normal agencies, I don’t lose my independence and it is easier to deal with being alone rather than spending time in someone else’s home and spending time alone.

The best time on my balcony as my Hot Chocolate Calla Lillie’s are in bloom.

A special mention to the anonymous person/ ‘s who gifted me my new iPhone 13. I’ve been learning new things. And hopefully I’ll get better at doing things Hands-Free. Briefly.

So, going forward please stay safe. Covid, sorry the Plague, is still kicking our asses, so be mindful, we don’t get to celebrate and have big parties (Plague-spreading events) just because we fear another Lockdown. Melbourne holds first place for the most to date. (6) Not something to be proud of. But here we are.

Family

Published April 26, 2021 by helentastic67

Family

Family is a beautiful and evil thing when you have a disability and life in general, I often feel like my contribution is undervalued or thing’s I could do to contribute to get together’s, it’s assumed I would break things rather than help.

At most Christmas gatherings, I offer to help because I want to be apart of things and not feel like a freeloader, but it becomes easier to stay out of the way and come in later to pack and unpack the dishwasher. I may offer to hand wash (carefully) some things that don’t go into the dishwasher and I’m told very quickly “NO” like I might smash the Fine Bone China cups and saucers.

No, I will not, I hope to inherit a share of those one day. Three daughters, is cups, saucers and cake plates. So, no would definitely not smash them.

Fun Fact: You can put Wedgewood in your dishwasher just without the detergent and likely on a cooler wash.

You’re welcome.

Today’s Lunch – 18th March 2020

Published March 18, 2020 by helentastic67

Today’s Lunch

Good Mental Health Day

Last Friday night, had a little tap-ass (I.T.  Crowd reference) before going to see Midge Ure at the Forum. The night before the new rules of no gatherings in public over 500 people. Therefore, no comedy festival.

Anyway, had medicine and Spanish Chorizo for dinner before the band. It made my nose run which was really handy. I sat down and had to inform the woman next to me I was not contagious but didn’t cope with spicy food. I’m a shame on my Nona and my Italian heritage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, this has been a very strange week already. This CoVid19 is continuing to make people think it’s the end of the world! Monday, I visited my friend. Bette in Bacchus Ass! (Bacchus Marsh!) which while further away from me is better than where she used to live. I called it Scumbury. I have written about her but it’s in the next batch, you must be patient. In short, we met in rehab five years ago. I was very cheeky and she has been unable to shake me. I took treats from my favourite cafe and so she didn’t come plain about how much I took I sent a photo of what I didn’t get.

 

Meet Bette!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Her mind is very sharp. But her body is letting her down. Sadly, I think I got to visit just before they instated shut-down laws. I also heard from three very unexpected people on Monday checking in on me. None of whom were related to me. Which was nice.

Sadly, no contact from family. When I rang my family, I got a lecture telling me if I didn’t take things more seriously and I get sick I would not be getting rescued and I was also told it was assumed I was ok, because I had not reached out.

Overall, I keep more to myself these days out of self-preservation. I’d prefer not to suffer a lecture if I not feeling great already.

Meanwhile, had a scooter adventure yesterday to my local supermarket. This was my haul.

Can you tell me what’s missing? Yes, the T.P!

Meanwhile, hellonwheels had a service last week. This is my effort at a classic car/motorbike/scooter shot, in the bottom of our apartment car park. I go down to the basement every time I’m out on hellonwheels.  I like to open up the motor. (That’s a joke! It’s electric.) Before I put her away to recharge. Because it’s fun.

I hope you will excuse the lack of today’s lunch today, I thought I might overwhelm you.

Cheers,
H

Emphasis On ‘A’

Published February 14, 2020 by helentastic67

Emphasis on ‘A’

Then, for the first time really ever, I dated. I dated a guy, the emphasis on ’A’ and like usual, some bitch had gotten to him first and he was more Roadkill than anything else.

We did the date thing for whatever and I had, had my diagnosis of my AVM and didn’t know what life and treatment would bring, but I had hopes I meant something to him, more than nothing.

After a third date that was more about us being ‘friends’ and watching films at my house (because my house had a heater and a cat!) etc.

*Sidebar; Imagine watching ‘Blue Dress’ with a new boyfriend, awkward!

So, I set about solving the boyfriend’s issues, trying to be a supportive girlfriend, hoping he would do the same with my treatment and recovery.

Let’s do a stocktake: –

  1. Alcoholic – fixed that. 🗸
  2. Separated, not divorced. 🗸
  3. Permanent Resident in Australia. 🗸
  4. Support him parenting his daughter. 🗸

This is starting to sound really bitter, which I’m not. In reality, he had his plans and I had mine and his did not include me.

It wasn’t until after we broke up and he was moving out to interstate for work that I learnt his mother did not even know I existed.

So, lesson learned.

If he had loved me, he would have still been here, with me and lord love that child, but not being a co-parent with the family make-up of that family, I dodged a bullet. Really!

I would have given it a red-hot go but I’m lucky I didn’t have too.

 

 

Fresh Friday

Published December 20, 2019 by helentastic67

Fresh Friday

It’s not every Friday, it’s not even every other Friday but when it happens it’s fresh! And I’m writing it the day before it goes live because it’s time sensitive and needs to be said. That is because Christmas is only a week away – not even!

While there are many pluses to being a single barren spinster, there are a few negatives and the main obvious ones is the dilemma of Christmas. Before you ask, no my family do not read my blog! But it is also to say, despite the situation at Christmas time it’s not anyone’s fault. No one is to blame it still goes under the heading, it is what it is.

It’s just kinda crappy!

At Christmas, my family is in opposite ends of the state. My mum and younger sister live in one direction close to where I grew up. My older sister and her partner, sorry fiancé live in the other. My father is still in my hometown and I only generally get there to see him when I go to my mums at Christmas for about a week.

While arriving at my mums in the countryside, opening the car door usually late at night upon arrival, brings an instant breathe of fresh air, I fled with pine trees and wood smoke. But from the moment of my arrival, I need someone to help me do everything. There is slip and trip hazards everywhere. Also, doors that must be kept closed to keep this cat outside, my cat inside, me away from cobweb-hazards.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And while my mum very generously gives me her bedroom for the duration of my stay, I’m down the other end of the house from activity. It’s hot and isolating. We all like different things but mine is not at all in line with my hosts. I pitch in by way of packing and unpacking the dishwasher and usually upon arrival I get a wave of OCD, because so much doesn’t have a home, and they have both been so busy making it to Christmas the dust kick-starts my hay fever and I can’t sit still for collecting things for recycling, etc and that just drives them insane that I can’t sit and relax.

We are all tired and we mostly all go into a kind of survival mode. I hibernate, watch my TV shows and sleep.

There is a day I go to visit my high school friends for a few hours, I browse my favourite shop and go visit my father where he has arranged his two brothers and sister in law to visit for afternoon tea. My Aunty always asks, “do you still like honey bread?” Do we all of a sudden stop liking chocolate? Or needing air to survive? And I go home with honey bread. It’s rhetorical right?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My older sister and fiancé are dog people. They have three. Why are they not labelled crazy dog ladies??? No! Of course, it’s just cat-ladies that get a bad rap. They generally do their own thing Christmas Day, this year being the first Christmas my future sister in law without her mum, sadly.

In recent years, we have managed to get together for what I refer to as a lovely lady’s lunch. Usually early December, somewhere a bit special. This year, I offered to attempt to arrange where and when and something we could all afford to contribute to. We all have vastly different fluidity of funds. (That’s a lot of F’s, and none of them my favourite version) You gotta give me a point for that? And after early efforts it became obvious it was to be put off for January, I was fucking (sorry, not sorry!) busy and everyone was proving hard to please. So, I dropped the ball.

So, it has not happened. I made the decision to spend Christmas home with Mika in air-conditioned comfort where I can at least have my carers every day and maintain my independence without need for someone to stop what they’re doing to open a door or move something for me. Not to mention our blend of intolerable foodie intolerance’s. No turkey? Last year I was informed mum forgot the stuffed turkey roll only 30 minutes north of Melbourne in a 3.5-hour drive to the country. Take me back and no Christmas pudding! Because the youngest hates peel! What?

So, this year I decided to go it alone at home and I’m ok with that. I’ve got enough ham to last me a portion a day for two weeks and some for the freezer. Not yet sorted a pudding, but I can cope with that. Besides I have rum balls.

I’ve also been managing the guilt and expectation of others, at the last minute my mum has asked if I can invite some of my neighbours over on Christmas Day? Because Christmas is supposed to be about family and being together and putting all of your shit aside for one day, so you can celebrate together and I don’t want to inflict myself upon others and ruin some other family’s day. I told my mum the people she suggested I could invite over we’re going to be in the States for two weeks and the other neighbour is Muslim, so no ham for her, or rum balls.

So, as a gentle reminder to those with plans for Christmas Day. Please check in on a neighbour or elderly person or anyone you know who may be socially isolated. It means so much to hear a friendly voice when you feel you are all alone.

FYI, I’m off social media Christmas Day and both my numbers are silent. So, if you want to reach out be prepared beforehand.

Now, on a more upbeat note: I do have a really upbeat post planned for Christmas Day, so stay tuned. And JD, you will get your cat-friendly Christmas tree!

Cheers,
H

Clayton’s Holiday

Published September 23, 2019 by helentastic67

Clayton’s Holidays

There was a drink back in the 80’s and I has become part of Aussie Pop Culture references that crosses all things. The ad was for a drink (beverage) called Claytons.

It refers to it being the drink when you don’t feel like having a drink. A drink without being alcoholic. So, this is a post about a Clayton’s holiday. Get it?

About five years ago, I was with an agency that arranged holidays (group holidays) for their clients. I was able to and included on two holidays, which was really nice as I think it’s been about ten years since I actually had a holiday and even then, that was to Tasmania for two-three nights.

So, the group holidays work out to be only a half day drive from Melbourne and only away over night or two. The other client’s range in age from five (one client’s daughter) to sixty-five (maybe). There were two mini buses with wheelchair lifts on the back (two wheelchairs in the back of each) and usually a car.

I usually bags the front seat of the mini bus (I will do a polishing motion on my backside and one of the carers will effortlessly lift me and deposit me in my seat). Yeah, I do that sexual harassment for the ladies. But I won’t allow a male carer to man-handle the goods. (I’m not light these days, but one lady just effortlessly lifted me making me feel so light.)

Being on a little get away with a bunch of strangers and three or four carers means you have a polite but temporary family type experience.

I always pitch in to help prep a salad or something in the evening as we usually stay somewhere we have a shared meal where ever we stay on the first night, as most meals are eaten out.

The first holiday I went to we stopped on the way back to Melbourne at an outer Melbourne suburb for a lunch and a little adventure.

A friend lived there, so I suggested they join me, so I could catch up with them. Said friend had recently been diagnosed with something quite nasty. They are still in that honeymoon stage of diagnosis where they have had the sugar-coated version of their diagnosis. Goes something like this “OH, you only have 3 lesions…”

Note, privacy being maintained here, yeah. This medical condition is such that when people hear I have a brain injury, I tell them, “Hey! It’s okay, this is my bottom line right now. At least I don’t have XYZ.” Because XYZ is degenerative. It gets worse. It gets shitty. I just gets’ worse.

So, this friend joined my little group of holiday buddies and I briefly introduced them to the group. I’m going to say, I’m terrible with names and I’ve been around this group of people with disabilities now a few years, so in a little desensitized re: medical conditions.

My introduction went like this;

“Brain Injury, MS, Stroke, Stroke, Oxygen deprived at birth (Brain Injury) etc, etc”. And I finished with referring to one particular person in a wheelchair (of which there were five) but the last person I pointed to had the XYZ my non-holiday friend has. “That will be you one day” and they paled considerably.

To be continued

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