109 days to Antarctica..."Are You Gonna Go My Way" Lenny Kravitz
Approximately eighteen minutes reading time
“The difference between winning and losing is most often not quitting.” – Walt Disney
Happy Halloween! I hope that you have had a good week and that life is good. Wow, how quickly the weeks fly by as November arrives. A few days ago I learned that Halloween started in Ireland, not America, which surprised me.
I grew up a fan of Walt Disney the man, the entrepreneur, the dreamer. Like Walt Disney, I remain optimistic about life and people. Sometimes, not easily. My optimism extends to my belief that I will have the life I want not withstanding the obstacles I face, constantly, which seem to increase rather than diminish. This has been such a hard week with some wonderful highlights for which I am incredibly grateful. I need to remember not to yield to the hardships that currently fill my life. It’s not easy. It’s exhausting when life seems to get harder rather than easier and I fight to not feel beaten by my current circumstances created by selfish, ignorant people who don’t know how to be better people or even consider the impact that they have on other people’s lives. Or worse still, just don’t care. They fail to realise that they will pay the price for their actions. Newton’s Third Law of Physics states that “every action has an equal and opposite reaction” and I pity these people and hope that they learn to be better human beings as this will also enrich their lives. I maintain my belief that people learn by example, so I maintain my standards when dealing with them, not easily. Karma lives with us and knowing this helps me remain grounded, although my equilibrium is off centre. I yearn to be back in balance and have my equilibrium restored.
As a Scientist and most especially as a Physicist this shapes the way that I see the world and think about life and how I can best live given the laws of the Universe and the laws of Physics. My scientific beliefs and resolve are unchanging. Facts, reason and rationale are how I base my decision making. Where possible I avoid making decisions based on emotions or fear or hypotheses or expectations. I was a Brownie and a Girl Guide growing up and the Motto “Be Prepared” lives with me. I always hope for the best and prepare for the worst and this has saved me at the worst and most vulnerable times of my life, Most especially since I lost my home in January 2020 and everything that came after was so much worse, unbelievably. I learned long ago that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. This knowledge assuages me.
As stated by Scientific American, “The conservation of energy is an absolute law, ...” “The law of conservation of energy, also known as the first law of thermodynamics, states that the energy of a closed system must remain constant—it can neither increase nor decrease without interference from outside. The universe itself is a closed system, so the total amount of energy in existence has always been the same. The forms that energy takes, however, are constantly changing.” https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/energy-can-neither-be-created-nor-destroyed/
Years ago one of my best friends and I discussed the option of her enrolling her young daughters into Brownies and Girl Guides which happened. The girls had fun and learned lots of great life skills that will always benefit them, even if not obviously all the time. Sadly, to me, none of my nephews or niece will have the experience of Boys Scouts or Brownies and Girl Guides. They simply have no time. Their other sports, music and creative and educational pursuits will teach them countless life skills which is what matters. Their interest in the world and people through their hobbies will also teach them much. I think it is a shame that they apparently now mix genders in these groups. I believe that there are benefits and advantages to be gained from single sex and mixed gender groups and activities, including learning and education. Life and the world are complicated. This keeps everything interesting for which I am always grateful.
At about 2am Monday morning as Schrodie lay next to me his belly rumbled uncontrollably. I was concerned. My sweet boy had been fine until now. He got up shortly after this and vomited a couple of times. There were spots of fresh blood in his bile. Another time, a few months ago the Vet told me that this can sometimes happen when dogs chew grass to aid a sore belly. Apparently following this instinct is the worst thing they can do for their belly. I did not panic but stored the specimens to take them to the vet. I did not sleep. I never sleep. I don’t eat properly and this is impacting my overall health, even though I am okay. First thing in the morning, I followed Schrodie outside and found a pool of congealed blood which he had passed. I collected the sample. I was incredibly distressed and concerned as this is a terrifying discovery for any species. I was grief-stricken. I am so grateful that I don’t panic under pressure. Perhaps in the initial moments but then reason and practicality kick in so I do what needs to be done. We went to the vet. Schrodie seemed to be fine with nothing obviously wrong which was wonderful news. Our wonderful vet took x-rays to make sure that there was no internal bleeding or foreign object causing problems inside Schrodie. The Vet showed me the x-rays and I was horrified to see his right leg bones which seemed separated. This was highlighted as something to watch but not a priority. Everything else looked fine although there was evidence of gas in his intestinal tract. The vet told me that he is seeing at least a dog every couple of days with this problem, which is caused by them ingesting fertilizer. Everyone is tending their gardens and fertilising and because of the blood and bone and other organic ingredients in fertilisers, dogs eat them and this happens. Schrodie had eaten tiny amounts when I used to tend my garden at home before we left home for the last time on 29th December 2019 and lost everything to bushfire on 5th January 2020 in the horrific “Black Summer Bushfires” but I controlled the situation by keeping him away and we avoided this outcome. I wondered if he had ingested something at the park or lake. I hope that they use signs when fertilisers and poisons are used. The “Beware Snakes” signs are up although we have not yet seen any Red-Bellied Black Snakes this season. They are about and I am careful. Only in Australia do people take their families and animals to play where there are known dangerous species of insects and reptiles. It’s crazy but it’s what we do. Playing children and animals, people of all ages are everywhere enjoying the sunshine and glorious spring weather. On the cold and cooler days, of which we have had many, I am relieved that snakes are less of a threat. The gardens, parks and lake smell wonderful with the scents of the beautiful, colourful Spring Blooms which are in abundance. There are ducklings of all ages and other water birds but there are always less as they become someone’s meal. Life is cruel. It’s Darwin’s “Theory of Evolution” and the survival of the fittest in play.
Anyway I called my friend to ask her if she had fertilised her yard when we had visited last week. She said no but later remembered that she had and Schrodie had stayed outside in her beautiful garden to play and have adventures, which may have included eating fertiliser. We left the Vet armed with some medications and his diet was back to low fat food which made me sad as I had been weaning him slowly over a couple of months back to his normal diet. To my relief, he has improved and there was no evidence of blood after Wednesday morning. I could breathe once again. Schrodie’s spirit and demeanour had not changed. My stoic, brave warrior did not wince once or let on that he was sick. I took him for shorter walks so as not to compromise his strength or recovery. Our walks make us happy and keep us joyful every day, no matter the circumstances. For this I am incredibly grateful, always. I will starve to ensure that Schrodie is as happy and well as possible. No matter the cost and the financial hardship of the vet bills, he is my priority. Without him I would not have survived any of the horrors I have faced in my life since he came to me as an eleven week old baby almost nine years ago. If he is treatable I will make sure his is treated, always. Schrodie is my priority, always.
Sleep or the Sandman did not visit me at all on Monday
night as I was haunted by the x-ray image of Schrodie’s right hip. It was my
fault that he got out of the yard in Sydney, where I had taken him to be safe
when our home was destroyed by flood. He was a tiny, year old baby and he got an infection on his penis by
walking over the water sodden carpet in those few minutes we had returned home
and before I had realised what disaster had befallen us. He was so tiny. He
escaped from the yard, distressed that I was leaving him and he ran across one
of Sydney’s busiest roads. He was off to have an Adventure, like Huckleberry
Finn. I panicked and called him back. He didn’t usually listen to me. He ran
across the road again and was hit by a ute. His recovery was phenomenal after a
terrible ordeal and he was only a year old. He spent a week in hospital and was
on pain killers and anti-depressants. I had to fight with the vet to give him
the support with anti-depressants. He was broken, my poor baby and he was
desperately sad. This lasted a short while as he improved. He spent two months
at my sister’s home confined to the shower. I used to sit in there with him.
I had read that it was a good and beneficial thing to do and that it would also strengthen our bond. It did. Aesop my sister’s Silky used to visit him. My brother-in-law and sister used to
carry him outside for relief. This is one crazy story for another time. How
life and synchronicity work is incredible and unbelievable. You’d never know it
now, except for his hip now, apparently. The Orthopaedic Specialist who looked after him, is
one of the best. Tuesday morning, I called him to schedule an appointment. He
doesn’t work much anymore but rang me back. The vet nurse had arranged for
copies of the x-rays and medical reports before he called. I was assured that
this was probably arthritis, which he had told me would probably occur, after
the accident. He said that it was a little unusual. I worried that this was
caused by me tripping over him when he runs in front of me, completely and
overwhelmingly excited and his little leg got jammed between my toes. The main
thing is he’ll be watched and there are injections and pain medications if he
needs them although I don’t want him to suffer, but I know first-hand that
often side-effects from medications can be worse than the problem they are
treating. So, this is an important consideration and balance for me. The main
thing is he runs, walks, jumps and plays, functions without complaining. He
carries his leg sometimes but he’s okay. Now I know why he struggles going up
and down too many stairs. This might have happened when he fell down the stairs
at my friend’s house. As it happens both vets are old friends are will look
after him jointly. They are both excellent vets. It’s no wonder they’re
friends. We are very lucky. Hopefully his condition, the arthritis, won’t
deteriorate too much. I know that exercising and moving are important to
maintain mobility and reduce pain, so we will continue our daily walks and
playing. After talking to the Specialist vet I was lifted from my
grief-stricken state into a joyful one. Schrodie and I both love living and
love life to the fullest. For us, there is no other way to live. This is why I
have fought so hard to restore my body, restore my home and restore my life.
Otherwise, what’s the point of being alive? For me. Schrodie is the same.
I believe that vets, the great ones are amazing. If I was
in danger and needed to choose help from a General Practitioner (Family Doctor)
or Vet, I would always choose the Vet, hands down, no question and no hesitation. Even for surgery the Vet will always win with me.
Given the situation with Schrodie I had no time or energy to focus on my bushfire rebuild. Masterton have made this experience appalling. Everything I have is going into rebuilding my home. It’s costing an exorbitant amount of money. They behave like it’s a charity build. They forget they only have work because of me and people like me, who give them our hard earned money and they are ignorant, arrogant and disrespectful. My first instruction to them about my contract was that I wanted no water pipes in the ceiling. The water pipes were to go in the external walls but this was not explicitly stated in my contract. After much heated and difficult discussion over the last week, the Site Supervisor and Area Manager had assured me and my sister that the water pipes which had been incorrectly placed in the ceiling, breaching my contract, would be removed from the ceiling on Monday. They were not. The pipes were covered over to hide them with insulation before the gyprock was installed and although some pipe had been moved, it had been dropped just below the ceiling line at the top of the wall and is now running over the electrical wiring and power points. This is a fire hazard. The pipes are mostly still in the ceiling throughout the house and garage which poses a greater threat of damage to the house and my property, when I get some, if the pipes ever break. Now we also face the threat of fire danger with the works as they are now. I found the building standards relating to electricity and water pipes in NSW, some of which is appalling. The pipes as they are, also breach these safety standards, if I have understood them correctly. Corrupt politicians have allowed the Building Industry carte blanch to do as they please without consequence. I am furious that we are oppressed by our government who have created an Oligarchy, a private Industry and oppressed it’s citizens from recourse and redress from dangerous and deceitful actions and damage caused by negligence. They don’t disclose anything or honour Contracts or requests of any kind. This is outrageous. This is wrong. For now, I am allowing them to continue as my priority is going home. I am horrified that they lied and think it’s okay. It’s not okay. I am sure that most people trust that they will follow the build contract and do the work that they are paid for, safely. I trusted them but no longer do. Anyway, I went every day to see what progress had been done and up until Saturday there was nobody on site. My energy has been sapped. I am so disillusioned by this all.
A most wonderful thing happened this week. This is the balance of the universe in play. I needed some paperwork from the Insurance company and called them to see if they could help me as this was not a standard request. The nrma Insurance Company is the best. I received the document which I required, without issue. I also asked the representative about my rental accommodation under my bushfire claim, explaining that although the week before it was confirmed that my accommodation was covered until the 5th January 2022 the real estate agent had not received the paperwork. My lease ends next week. My tenancy is fine but the payments must be in place, which they currently are not. I explained the confusion and was told that the representative would follow it up after our call. I also asked, without expectation, if there was any way that my rent could be covered until two years from the lease start date rather than the claim date. The difference being thirty seven days. I was told that a request would be made. As I have no idea when my home will be finished due to the incompetent, dishonest and reprehensible clowns building it, I am in a terrible and frightening state of flux, facing homelessness.
I’m still hoping that against all odds I will be able to go home before the end of the year, even if the home is unfinished. My situation is desperate. The way the builders have been bleeding me for extra money is unconscionable and not due to any request or fault of mine. There have been so many breaches to the contract and this is not okay. My hands are currently tied. I hate this situation. I struggle being trapped by these circumstances. I have no control. I forget to breathe.
A little while later, after my phone conversation, I received a phone call from the nrma representative who had already forwarded me an email confirming the rental extension and that this was all that they could do to help me. I burst into tears. I was inconsolable, overwhelmed with gratitude and relief. I could not believe that they had agreed to help me with this extension. WOW! This along with Schrodie’s recovery were two of the best things that could have possibly happened to me. I used to sell Insurance as a Financial Planner. In my first job, I refused to sell it because the product was inferior and the culture of the organisation was dodgy and dishonest, one of the banks. I hated that job and quit first chance I got. I did make some wonderful friends there though and this was my silver lining. When I moved to work as the only female Adviser in the only in-house Advisory Group in one of Australia’s oldest and most prestigious Insurance Companies, I learned from the best in the country and quickly joined their ranks. It was me and over forty men as peers. The products were excellent and my conscience selling Insurance was clear.
People complain about Insurance companies and problems but this is not right. The reason people have problems making successful claims through Insurance companies under their existing policies is that they have the wrong policies and the wrong cover. You get what you pay for, like everything in life. This fact is too often overlooked.
After the “Black Summer Bushfires” there was free legal representation made available to the bushfire victims. Unfortunately for me, the focus of this assistance was to litigate Insurance Companies. My requirements for assistance have not been with the Insurance Company. The nrma have been beyond amazing and supportive. The focus of society is skewed. Before the bushfires, my sister had asked me why my Insurance policy was so expensive when her home was more expensive than mine. I explained that I paid for the maximum cover available. We also made different choices about what was important to us and this affected our premiums. I had increased my cover to the new and best cover option, at great expense and added financial burden after my home was destroyed by flood, a few years ago. This had been caused by a tiny crack in a water pipe in the ceiling of my home which caused twenty two and a half thousand litres of water from my tank to empty into my home and rot it with black mould. My sister fought the building supervisor at the time, as did I and the outcome was correct. He wanted to scrape and paint the walls. No way in hell was that going to happen. We know about mould and water damage. I am a Scientist and know a lot about many different things which for builders can be annoying as they can’t con me. I understand. Often I know more and understand more than they do and being a woman, makes it worse, for them. Too bad. It was his fault not the nrma. It took almost a year to gut and rebuild my home. When the new policy with two years rental cover was available, I took it just in case and hoping that I would never need to claim. Here I am, unbelievable as this journey has been for me and Schrodie. It was worth the financial burden. I only worked for income to pay bills and mental, social stimulation. I had everything I needed. I was working twelve hours a week at minimum wage in retail, earning about ten thousand dollars a year. When I needed more money, I got more work, Always. I paid about eight thousand dollars each year on Insurance Premiums for my health, home and car, the very best cover. It’s really more than I could afford but it was worthwhile and here I am. There is no safety, security or glory of any kind in life without sacrifice. Without my insurance cover for rent over these last two years after what happened to me with those two terrible and incredibly rare medical conditions that almost killed me so many times over 2020 and 2021, I would not have survived. It was worth the sacrifice. I will do it again, in a heartbeat, unflinchingly. The burden will be greater now as I must start over and after being completely disabled by the ANCA Vasculitis last year. “Be Prepared” always! The perils of life and living are too great and the uncertainties greater still, “Be Prepared”. Know what matters most to you in life. This for many people, is the hardest thing to discern and identify. Protect what matters most to you in life. Then, you will always be okay, no matter what and I am living proof.
I have never had a fall-back in life and have learned and made sure that I looked after myself. I still do. Any support is a gift but never assured or reliable. If you get support, know how lucky you are but still make sure that you can look after yourself as life is too uncertain.
Johnny, my guitar and I are enjoying our time together. Being back in the world is wonderful. I’m glad to be able to attend my guitar lessons again. My progress is good and consistent. My hands are getting stronger although, I was sad last night when I couldn’t crack open peanut shells with my fingers. I’m not yet strong enough but in the meantime, there are tools, a nutcracker is fine with me. Schrodie and I dance to an average of five songs a day. We love it. Together.
Trivia has been great fun, both nights, as always. Three of us almost won twelve hundred dollars cash last week. I knew all three correct answers to the questions for the cash. Nobody else did. My two male team-mates overruled me about a music question. I thought the three songs were released in 1984 but I was not certain, I was still very young then and they thought the year was 1983. It was 1984. C’est La Vie. Maybe we will win when it’s a bigger prize. Nevertheless, it was lots of fun. We came second and won twenty five dollars which means free drinks, yay! Everything tastes better when it’s free, ha! ha!
The days fly by and Antarctica looms ever closer. I am not ready. I don’t think I will be ready. Now, the build delay of my home poses new problems if it over runs into 2022. Not only is the rent an issue but it now threatens my trip to Antarctica, if there is an overlap. I am hoping this doesn’t happen. If it does, I’m screwed one way or the other. Sorry to be so blunt. They can’t handover if I’m away. I’m not missing my trip. This is not an option. I’m going to need my rental accommodation. Oh, I hope this does not happen. Nevertheless, I must be prepared for this eventuality. I have no idea what to do. Like so many problems, obstacles and challenges which I have faced already and continue to face, I must work this out. Oh my. One baby step at a time Theodora. This is all I can do. One decision at a time. One priority at a time. One breath at a time. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.
I’m cooking, dry frying in their own fat wagyu beef and pepper sausages from the Supermarket, with frozen chips and boiled frozen mixed winter vegetables in salted water. I always used to make my own chips but for now the frozen ones are easy. They are like cardboard compared to homemade delicious crispy, golden chips with fluffy centres and lots of salt. My meal is almost ready and the sausages smell delicious and they are, so I am happy. It’s a good and easy meal. I’m having at least one mandarin or orange or apple or pear every day for my Vitamin C intake as well as my supplement. Scurvy be gone. I’ve realised that is why my gums got sore and swollen all of a sudden. This too has improved, thankfully.
Supplements, reminds me that I spoke with my Endocrinologist and Rheumatologist. I’m increasing my long acting insulin to seventeen units, by one to try and counter the high blood sugars. Migraines are constant. The stress is too great and unrelenting and I get absolutely no respite, especially as it is ever increasing. My bloods were good, which is always a relief, especially given how terrible I have been feeling these last few weeks. My Rheumatologist told me that how unwell I have been feeling, weak and tired and the exhaustion and malaise is probably the prednisone weaning. I am so excited that tomorrow I drop my dose by one milligram every day so I will be on my last weaning dose this month of one milligram a day. 30th November will be my last day on Prednisone, hopefully forever. I know that it’s knocking me around but didn’t realise it could be causing everything. This was welcome news. My Rheumatologist told me that I should not have developed Psoriasis as I am on Methotrexate and this is the treatment for psoriasis. I said I knew this and that it concerned me. He asked when I took the Folic Acid as this blocks the Methotrexate, which I know. I take it every day that I don’t take Methotrexate, so for six days a week. After our appointment I went to check my other supplements. Lo and behold my Women’s Multi-Vitamin contains folate, Folic Acid. Two Pharmacists at the hospital and two other pharmacists checked my supplement lists to make sure that there were no problems with drug interactions. It seems that they all missed this small but important detail. It’s not much but it matters so I have stopped taking this supplement when I take my Methotrexate. Although I am keen to get off all the drugs, only Methotrexate and Benralizumab now, although I missed the last one because of my Covid vaccines, he wants to wait so I don’t relapse with the ANCA Vasculitis. I’m so lucky to be alive and functioning with such great nerve recovery and feeling restored throughout my body that he thinks the risk is too great, for now. If I relapse, especially given the extreme severity of the disease I had, caused by the rare double Pneumonia, all the compounded heartbreak and multiple ongoing traumas, I will not survive. The fact that I did survive and recovered is because I was fit, strong and healthy and my unbelieveable strength and willpower. They kept telling me this in hospital when I was a scrawny, crumpled pile of tiny bones struggling to move. You’re strong, you’re core is strong, you’re amazing. I have worked so unbelievably hard to get my fingers, my hands, my feet and my toes working again and the rest of my body. It has been an uphill and most terrible and agonising battle. Sisyphus had it easy in comparison, carrying his boulder up the mountain for eternity. The war is not yet won, for me, but it will be, soon. I cannot wait. Most especially, I am glad that I am independent once again and can look after us both, safely. I will not quit. I will never surrender. I don’t know how. This is the craziest ride.
Thanks for your company. I hope you have a good week and easily get through whatever challenges you face, no matter how terrible. If I can get through all this on my own, then so can you. Hang in there and do something fun every day. Be sure that you laugh every day. Treat yourself to something that makes you happy and brings you joy, every day, no matter how small.
Have fun, take care and stay safe, happy and well.
Enjoy this fabulous Lenny Kravitz Hit, “Are You Gonna Go My Way”. I love this song, it’s energy, power, rhythm, lyrics and it’s fun. Lenny is so totally cool and gorgeous. The fact that he’s such a sexy man is a bonus. I have no idea who or what is gonna go my way at this point in time, so this is my current question and sentiment, making this great song this week’s “song of the week”. I hope it inspires you.
I’m sorry that I missed posting on Sunday, it was too much. Thank you for understanding. I will still aim to post on Sundays with pages on Wednesday and Friday. I hope that, as always, you leave Schrodie’s Mummy a little lighter and feeling a little better than when you arrived. I hope that my posts and pages help you in some way, inspire you, cheer you up or are of interest. This is the only reason that I share any of this with you. Feel free to refer anyone that might benefit from joining us. Please know that, the light is always there, no matter how hard you need to squint. I know. It’s not easy but it’s worth it.
Bye for now.
Until next time.
Watch this space...
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