291 days until Antarctica..."Tearin' Down The Walls" Poison
Approximately 15 minutes reading time
“People often ask me for the secret to success. Usually, they mean success in the music industry, but I think the answer applies to most things in life: always persevere and never give up.” Vera Lynn
Whenever mummy introduced me to anything new, I was always told about the creator, the artist their story. I knew that most Country and Western singers, as they were then called, came from abject poverty and overcame incredible adversities and challenges to survive let a lone succeed to the top of the music world. Most especially, it was the women, typically in life, who had additional challenges to beat that were a result of their gender. The stories, no matter their genre or medium of delivery, were mostly uplifting, inspiring, beautiful and powerful, always honest and real.
Drowning in the ‘Depths of Despair’ is how I have been feeling. Anne Shirley of Anne of Green Gables was there too but somehow I think that her depths were much more shallow than mine. I have had respite over the last couple of weeks, having spent time with my nephews and my niece. Children are indeed the tonic for treating sadness and the antidote to despair.
I have survived another hard week.
My house plans are almost finalised. They won't charge the landscape plans as per my multiple requests. Since my first conversations with the salesman when I told him the landscaping plans were not acceptable and did not meet my requirements, they've told me that the details don't matter. There is nothing more that I can do at present. I need my house built so that I can finally go home. Once these are complete my house can finally go into the construction phase. I feel like I am reaching for a moving horizon. At times I feel like I am suffocating in despair and misery. I am glad that I believe this to be temporary.
I saw my hand therapist on Thursday and she could plainly see the improvement in my hands and my increased strength, dexterity, co-ordination and general function. She thinks that my guitar lessons and dancing with Schrodie, in conjunction with my myriad of exercises are making an ongoing and tremendous difference to my improvement. I have some new exercises to add to my repertoire. My right thumb is my weakest digit and the muscles around it are still very weak but much stronger than they have been since my illness and complete disability. My nerve pain has been increasing but it is not constant.
My memory is improving. I have managed to answer some picture puzzles and even got an anagram right over the last couple of weeks at Trivia. It is helping to sharpen my senses and my memory. The laughter and fun that I have playing with my team mates and others every week is great and beneficial to my health. Even with the threat of Covid-19 I still go to play as I’ve had enough of isolation. I take a mask. Some people can’t help spitting and drooling when they talk. I keep my distance, as discreetly as possible, I move away from them, quickly. I don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings.
Something amazing and unexpected happened on Monday. I got a call from the General Practitioner (GP) who had given me my Flu vaccine at my Doctor’s Clinic on Friday. He called to check that I was okay after my shot. He had researched quite thoroughly during my appointment that the Methotrexate and Benralizumab were safe to take with the flu vaccine. I couldn’t believe that he actually cared enough to call me. I am fine although I do have bruises and a large lump on my arm which are quite sore but nothing to cause worry. I was deeply touched. After my flu shot I learned that my GP had moved on and was no longer my doctor. I asked him if he would be my doctor. He is a trainee and honest but most importantly he listens and cares. He agreed. I have a new GP which was a cause for worry. Even though I am not and have never been sickly, I do have some serious chronic conditions and when I get sick I can become critical very quickly. I need a good, thorough, kind and supportive doctor. I do hope that this never happens again. He also agreed not to charge me the extra consultation fee, for which I am grateful. He will learn much with me as his patient. Perhaps the tide of my fortune is changing. I really hope so.
My new boundary fence has been built. My neighbour got upset, apparently she took issue with me politely asking to see an invoice and proof of payment for the full cost of the invoice. She expected me to pay her about six thousand dollars without any documentation. I want to be sure that the fencer won’t come after me for money if he has not been paid and I pay her the money she has told me she paid. I am a scientist. I am an Accountant. I need proof, evidence to be sure of any truth. I have since asked several people, young, old, male and female if they thought me unreasonable to ask. Everyone said that they would ask the same and only pay the contractor. I may be compromised but I am nobody’s fool. Patsy is not my name. Originally, she said that she would pay for the front half of the fence as I had lost everything. At the time I was moved by her kindness although she chose the fence she wanted and she knew that I was critically ill. Also, she didn’t follow the correct process so I have no responsibility to pay for this fence. Last week she asked for the money. To avoid bad blood I will pay but I am disappointed and now I know her. A few months ago when my existing septic tank was creating an issue for the position of my house, I asked her for her agreement to move my house ten centimetres towards my boundary fence. This meant that there would be two metres forty centimetres rather than two and a half between my house wall and our boundary fence. A brick could easily be placed a little further across causing this to happen. My neighbour asked me for a Proposal. How ludicrous. I asked the builders to move the house one metre forward rather than sideways. Problem solved. I would have found any other way. Wow! People always tell you who they are, listen and believe them. This is one of the biggest tricks in life and helps you avoid problems with people. I do actually like my neighbour. I knew a man who used to always quote me John Lennon“…there are no problems in life, only solutions”. I do agree with this sentiment. I have no idea why he used to always say this to me and regularly.
My other neighbours have been trying to gouge money, thousands of dollars, out of me from the day my house burned down. They have harassed me through different people since my house burned down and they knew that I was fighting for my life. They think that I am loaded and insured and want a cut; an easy win fall. They just see easy money and are trying to take advantage of me and bully me in my vulnerable state. I will deal with them later. They have twice stopped my efforts to remove the overhanging branches into my yard from their trees. They knew the people that were hired to do the job. One lot were even paid and didn’t do it. I’m well within my legal rights but they asked their permission. I learned why the man who had owned my house had added a layer of chicken wire to the top of the fence. I will protect myself, Schrodie and my property. I may build another, higher fence in my yard, inside the boundary to keep them out. They’ve helped themselves to my wood and garden bush rocks before, they destroyed my garden bed. They erected a rubbish fence that is about five feet high that is not secure or safe as a boundary fence. It's simply not fit for purpose. They seem to have built the fence within my yard and not on the boundary. The fence at the front of their house is secure, about seven feet high and to the ground. I won’t be bullied or intimidated by anyone. Once again, my name is not Patsy. They think that I am easy game as a single woman, especially in my vulnerable state since the bushfire.
The electricity company sent me a letter saying that someone was stealing my electricity. I have learned that this is a matter for the Police. I complained about the possibility of electricity theft years ago and was told not likely. Now I have been proven right. These people are more than capable of knowing how to do something like steal electricity. Again, I will deal with this later. I might have been a city chick and I am a tree-changer but even compromised I am no fool. These are crimes. These are matters of principle. For me there is no compromise when it comes to matters of principle and matters of right. These are the values with which I was raised. I cower to nobody. I know others feel the same way and The Winslow Boy is an old and much loved film about principles and right, integrity, conviction, courage and standing up for your beliefs and yourself.
The other day I went to the hospital and had my benralizumab injection. No adverse reactions. I also managed to have the blood tests and scans that I needed for different Specialists to make sure that I am okay. Hopefully the results are fine. Schrodie got another night and day with Deb and Murphy. I also had a lovely evening with them and a friend over a delicious, hearty vegetable soup on a cold, wet night. Champagne with friends is always lovely and a bonus.
It was a very tough week. Emotionally and physically tough. I am certain that the Greek God Atlas and Sisyphus both would baulk at the boulders that I have been carrying upon my shoulders whilst pushing my way up mountains, not hills. Atlas was the Titan who had been cursed to eternally hold up the World, in ancient Greek mythology. In Greek Mythology Sisyphus was the King of Ephyra who was punished by the Gods for twice cheating Hades of his claim upon him. The wrath of the Gods heaped upon Sisyphus was to eternally push an enormous boulder up a steep hill every day only to have it roll back down to the bottom. I’m so battle weary. I feel like curling up in the foetal position and not moving. The best that I can do is to take a Temazepam and wake up four hours later, if not before. I take this because it is a mild medication on which I cannot overdose. It does not always work in getting me to sleep. 3am is the deadly time for Type 1 Diabetics as this is when blood sugars can plummet dangerously during sleep. If I am asleep, I will stay asleep, permanently in a Diabetic Coma. 3am is the time it happens, give or take half an hour. My sugars have been erratic lately. Luckily I feel it when my sugar drops or Schrodie wakes me if my sugar fall so low. This has been happening lately. My wits are still fine and haven’t been hampered enough to put my life in mortal danger. I have some orange juice, chocolate, fruit and/or something else depending on how low they go. I do try to avoid sweets as they are unhealthy but sometimes this is unavoidable and jelly beans are a must and always on hand as well. The diabetic jelly -beans are larger and higher in sugar than regular ones. I am sure my erratic sugars are caused by a combination of the medications and the stress. At times I have been shutting down and doing nothing but resting, for days. Anything else is too much. I just walk, play and spend time with Schrodie. I withdraw from everything and everyone else. I retreat. I am still so fragile and vulnerable.
Johnny, my guitar and I are bonding well and my playing is improving. My guitar teacher, my sister, my nephew a musician and hard critic have all complemented me on my playing. I feel and hear my improvement. I am chuffed with my progress and that it is helping rebuild all the tiny, very specialised muscles throughout my hands. I even taught my ten year old nephew to play the Peter Gunn Theme on the guitar. I amazed myself. He hasn’t learned guitar yet but he played it to me on the piano with more songs. He knows I love music. It is a treat for us both to share. This is the kind of sharing that I love. We also danced the Tango and the Cha-Cha. I do different things with each of the five children, whatever they want to do with me. Life is never dull. I find myself playing different Sports often and I have no interest in any sport. For Seniour High Sport I took Cinema Appreciation. The things we do for love.
It’s been freezing cold. The temperature is creeping towards zero, especially during the evenings, mornings and overnight. We have had as much rain as in March during the floods throughout NSW. Thankfully our soggy earth is still drinking in the water pouring from the heavens. There have been a few dry days and even some warmth. I haven’t had enough warm clothes, inner or outer. I instinctively reach for them then remember that they no longer exist. I am slowly replenishing my resources and supplies of everything to get by and be comfortable and appropriately dressed. I believe in always being appropriate. I am grateful that I have a credit card left over from a past life. There are funds available through some of the charities but I cannot access them at all as I pay my own bills and as timely as possible. Occasionally I am late for some valid reason, uncomfortable as this makes me. Also in order to access the funds from the charities it is akin to begging even though my situation is legitimate. The money would pay for my fence and so much more. I am hemorrhaging money that I can’t really afford. Alas, the path of least resistance as I cannot deal with additional, unnecessary challenges, is the most expensive path. I am expected to detail what I need to a third party for their approval and purchase. I believe they are trying to be fiscally responsible but this is not the way. Currently there is funding that was donated to the Salvation Army and another charity, that I cannot access because of their ridiculous, humiliating and demeaning distribution rules. One's dignity need not be compromised to access assistance in order for an organisation to be financially diligent. Hopefully this will improve. I have heard that other people feel as I do about this predicament. I'm sure that it's not deliberate but a lack of understanding. It may also be that they normally deal with different types of people like addicts who cannot be trusted with cash. Anyway these processes need to be reviewed and amended in situations such as Natural Disaster. It seems that they don’t care. I wonder what the people who donated the money would think about this situation? I find it appalling. I will never beg anyone for anything. I always had a deep respect the Salvation Army and always donated money to them in the past. I am horrified. Anyway, we’ll see what happens. I sent the Salvos an email detailing this reality over a week ago and have as yet heard nothing. I always donated money and always believed in the Salvos. I still do and tell myself that it is certain individuals creating these situations. I never could have imagined or believed that I would ever receive or need charity or help from charities, of any kind.
I am forever grateful to everybody who cared enough to donate anything. If it hasn’t helped me it has helped someone who needs it. I tell myself that there are people who need more help than me. People who do not know how to help themselves or who cannot help themselves. Your contributions, donations, kindness and generosity is making a real and important difference to my life and to the lives of countless others. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. These are some of the greatest gifts of humanity, that connect us all, Love, Empathy, Compassion, Kindness and Generosity.
Bonds and other companies donated clothes but I cannot access them as the people, government employees, supposed to be helping me don’t know anything or how to identify or access available resources. I believe that they mean well but aren't equipped to do such work or trained adequately. Given that the responses to the bushfires were organic this is understandable. This can serve as a learning curve and resources for future requirements. I have heard stories of other people accessing free whitegoods and furnite almost immediately after the fires. Some even got free caravans and temporary housing which is wonderful. Everyone needs to have access to the same resources not a select few. As they are unaware of the available resources they refute the facts that others have told me and confirmed by the companies staff. Or it’s too much effort for them and they have no accountability and they don’t really care. I've been gaslighted. It’s unbelievable and appalling, Once again I hope that this serves as a learning resource for future needs.
I purchased new knitting and crochet needles and various wool to brush up on my skills and help my hand therapy. I also want to start making some pieces to add to my accessories or create pieces for my Etsy Shop, I want to rebuild everything for my accessories business when I go home. I love designing, creating and making beautiful things. I don’t believe that there is ever enough colour or beauty in the world. I am trained in fashion design, sewing and millinery. I trained at school then later whilst on a career break from the Corporate World, at the prestigious Sydney Institute in Ultimo. These are all very physical activities which I find invigorating and highly satisfactory and fulfilling work. I am not yet in a position where I can buy materials or make things again. I need to repurchase all of my equipment as well. I need storage room. It will be incredibly hard but it is something that I want and must achieve, at my level best. When I remember that in September last year I could barely move my hands and fingers, I am amazed and so proud of myself to be in my current position. My feet are still improving. Often they are uncomfortable and at times painful as the nerves are still recovering and the muscles are atrophied. The sensations are strange but they are normalizing. I do have almost full feeling back in my feet. I do have full feeling back in both my hands and all my fingers. These incredible and complex machines about which I have learned so much fascinate me more than ever.
I watched Deliverance the other day and those beautiful, sexy arms of Burt Reynold’s were a bonus. It is hard for me to resist a man with beautiful, sexy, strong arms. Most especially when they are wrapped around me in a warm and loving embrace. This warms my heart. I haven’t seen that movie for years. It is still creepy.
I have watched loads of fun, good and terrible shows of all kinds and across all genres since August. I haven’t had the energy or focus to read. I am managing to write but it is mentally and emotionally taxing and exhausting. The torrents of sobbing and tears from my soul are unending. Thank heavens for my sense of humour. The other day I found one of my favourite films, Death at a Funeral. It is a dark/black comedy on Netflix or Stan. The original film is English, there is an American remake by Steve Carell. I love the original. It was one of my go to films that I would watch when I had a really hard day. It makes me laugh so hard. I bought my sisters a copy of the DVD years ago and they all hate it. I must be a Changeling. This would explain so much. Ha!Ha!
Gratefully I am still myself but an even better version, I hope. My evolution is constant and brutal at times, often.
Covid-19 is once again an increased threat. I am trying to remain optimistic and careful, always to stay well and not catch it. I am concerned that if the situation does not improve around the world then our borders will stay firmly shut. I hope not. My trip to Antarctica is under threat, especially as South America is suffering greatly from Covid-19. I have not yet had the vaccine. I am concerned about my underlying health conditions and the medications that I must take reacting with the vaccine. It is too new for anyone to know for sure if it is safe. If I do have it, I want the Pfizer vaccine. They said that Thalidomide was safe too before they acknowledged the harm that it had caused to innocent women and their children. I won’t be a guinea pig. I know that I will probably need to have the Covid-19 vaccine before I leave for my Antarctica trip. I will cross that bridge when I come to it, not now. One step at a time. I refuse to worry about anything that is avoidable and unnecessary. The here and now, the present is all that matters. My psychologist agrees. This is always how I try to live my life. Not easy by any means, ever. Sometimes the present is simply horrible but it passes and eventually, if not quickly, becomes the past. I hear my mother telling me, as a girl, that “this too shall pass”. I cannot wait.
I have another assignment to do for my course. Johnny and I must play together. Schrodie and I must dance.
Throughout life and every day, “Little by little, inch by inch, Tearin’ down the walls” as Poison sang and I remind myself constantly.
Hope you have a good week. Stay happy and well. Have fun.