The villages that sculpt us

16 04 2012

I kind of forgot I had a blog. So here I am updating so you don’t all think I’ve DIED or something. It would be impossible to fill you in on everything that’s happened since I told Chantel to ‘Stare at It’ (my last post). So here’s a few villages I’ve passed through in 2012.

The village of summer, sickness & sadness. The heatwaves this summer, or more so the humidity that accompanied the breaking of said heatwave, sent me to hospital with severe asthma. At the time, distressing and HORRIBLE. But I was able to finally give up smoking purely because I had to. Plus I met a lady in hospital with end stage emphysema, that helped. A lot! I had already cut right down and was working on a better diet and adding meditation & mindfulness to my life, which has been and still is great! — but I was fooling myself and making excuses for myself for needing cigarettes to handle stress. It’s a big lie, and I’m onto it. 7 weeks smoke free, and i’m breathing easier, much easier.

The next was the village of madness, mania & maladies. A family member has been struggling with panic attacks, bad ones, go to hospital ones. I used to suffer from these life-wreckers when my kids were very young. It’s been a long time, and I’d even forgotten what happened to me when I, after a few long years, finally took control and ‘got it’ that I was ok, that my feelings were tricking me, that I didn’t have to hook into my thoughts, that panic didn’t have to be an everyday part of life, that I had CHOICES. I discovered that at the bottom of them was a traumatised me needing to heal. I wish wish wish I could pass on this experience to my beloved. But nothing I say helps. It is a deeply sad thing to feel helpless, to not be able to help the ones you love. I will continue to try. In the meantime, there will be lots of hugs, lavender oil, vitamins & diet, & my hand in theirs letting them know I’m always there. It’s not enough, but it’s all I have.

Next we come to the village of houses, dust & hysterical packers.  I’m dwelling in this village right now, and IT’S CRAZY HERE! Here’s the story. Two days after I came home from hospital, I was told BY TEXT, that the unit I’m renting, will be going on the market for sale. By text? Can you believe that? I mean, I know we are living in a technological age, but really, how RUDE! Anyway, this could turn into a very long story, so here’s my attempt at the short version.

My brother has been staying with me, he’s driving Limos in the metro area and it’s conventient for him to stay in the suburbs rather than go back to the caravan that he’s been living in for 10 YEARS.

We decided to trial living together for a while, it would help us both out. Besides, rental houses are very expensive now, and I would be pushing to get another rental at the rate I was paying. Also the competition is fierce. A customer and friend at work was leaving her rental home, I went and looked at it, my brother and I applied, and we got it on the strength of 1) my friends good word that she put in for us and; 2) not many people turned up. Unusual, as the previous 5 or so inspections I’d been to, people were lining up.

So here I am packing up my tiny little unit with a week to go til move date. I’ve been very sick over the last month with a virus. I’m only just starting to feel somewhat ok, so i’ve finally started stuffing stuff into stuff! (hence the hysterical packer). We’ve been given permission to take stuff over there before the move date, but only to be put in the garage. Still this helps us heaps, and it means that on moving day, it will be just the lug of hauling the bigger furniture pieces. Did I mention the new house is much bigger than here, has 3 bedrooms, two living rooms, a proper dining area and a purple BATH! I adore baths! I am SO excited for my brother who gets to kiss caravan life goodbye. He has a FOUR CAR GARAGE and a twinkle in his eye.

So anyway, that’s been my year so far, along with trying to hold down my job through all this, and having a meltdown or two while GIVING UP SMOKING. Sorry to shout, but it still astounds me that I’m doing it! I’m still very much struggling with my health and every day is a battle to keep moving and work on strengthening my poor immune system. Daily suffering is a given. But I’m a battle-weary warrior and that’s what we do, we grit our teeth and keep moving forward to the next village. Keep. Moving. There’s times we need to be still too, but not when the flames are licking at your legs.

So maybe I’m coming out the other side of this dark prickly place that has bruised me so much, maybe even stronger than before. I still hold love in my hands. I still see beauty in the world. I still hope for better days. Maybe the next village will have me ALL-CAPPING throughout frantic storytelling. Or maybe I will just make bread and soup and sleep the winter away.

See you up the road a bit.



Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year (recovery mix)

26 12 2011

Stare at it Chantel!

Feet up, I am relaxing and unwinding  from all the headiness of Christmas Day and the madness leading to it. (Next year this will not happen, I swear.) I am reminiscing and in recovery mode, I now have the giggles as I look through the pictures I took on the day. This one has had me falling about laughing. I can’t believe I said this to my niece as she was waiting for a piece of the Pav she watched her cousins decorate.

 ‘Stare at it Chantel!’

and she did, for a full 30 seconds I reckon.

hahahahahaha Am I bad? ><

all in the name of a good pic of course, poor kid!

(hungry 5 year olds can be very obedient.)

The Little Laughing Boy and a Butterfly Man

18 08 2011

Last week I had to call an ambulance as I woke up struggling to breathe. At the local ER, the doctor tells me I have viral asthma, tells me I am exhausted, dehydrated and essentially need bed rest and re-cooperation. He gives me regular drugs, and I lapse in and out of sleep, awoken by alarms, many false. I am prodded and poked and needled.

Propped up awkwardly on the narrow ER bed, I hear a little boy laughing like he is being tickled. I am surprised to feel his laughter is making me feel incredibly sad. Perhaps it’s the drugs, perhaps I am in a state of delirium, I don’t know. But later, the same little boy (about 3 years old) walked past my cubicle with his dad and older brother in tow. As he walks by, he coyly turns only his eyes towards me, waves, and skips on happily. I sit there in a daze wondering why he did that. He didn’t know me at all, but I knew he was the same little boy who had laughed earlier. Why did he wave at me? Every day now I think about him, and I am completely perplexed. This memory makes me feel happy, and sustains me as I think upon it during my stay in hospital, and smiles me still.

It took 5 days in the hospital before they were happy for me to go home. I was mortified at first, as I am a do-er, a constant thinker, and I get bored easily. My iPod and mobile phone had little charge left, so I tweeted out a few drug-addled tweets and, well, basically slept away the first two days oblivious to everything.

I was admitted to the short stay unit at first, so I thought, ok a couple of days and i’ll be home, but on the fourth day they admitted me onto the Ward for Physio. Thank god I only had to stay one day and night there. It was awful and noisy and they were understaffed, and by this time, all I want to do is go home, not listen to across the hall Colleen, coughing up a lung begging for a cigarette at 1am in the morning with the Nurse telling her no and why in a booming voice. 1am in the morning! My fingers itch, I ring the nurse and ask her to tell hacker lady and booming nurse to shut up! I am at my wits end. Colleen gets a filthy look from me the next day.

Circling back a day to the quiet, caring and attentive Short Stay Unit. On the fourth night, I was up late watching a bit of tv, passing time, and I notice an old man talking to the nurses at the nurses station. My nurse, Hilda, comes to me and tells me he was a recent patient (he even still had his hospital band on). He wants to give something back to the staff, so on his release from hospital, he starts to make pleated butterflies. He also wrote some verse to go along with them. His plan was to give them to the nurses, as he felt they saw a lot with their job and wanted to give them a gift of ‘unburden.’

Hilda asks me if I would like one, says she has asked him if he would give me one, that it would cheer me up, and proceeds to read me the verse. I tell her I would love to have one of his butterflies. I watch him smile shyly as she tells him, and he moves slowly towards my bed. He and another Nurse bring in two boxes of butterflies, about 40 in all. So many to choose from. Each one he tells me takes an hour to make, and says ‘choose one’. I umm, I ahh, and look them over, and finally decide upon one. I’m in no hurry. He hands me a sheet of verse and tells me ‘This will help you as it’s helped me’. I place the butterfly on top of the verse. They go together. I tear up as I watch him begin to walk away. Here was a man who is so grateful to be alive, that he wants to say thank you in the most personal way possible, to making something with your hands, and write something from your heart. I summon up a little courage and say ‘You are a very special man, thank you’. He looks down shyly, and says ‘thank you.’ I don’t think I’ve ever heard those two words said so gently, humbly, beautifully.

Since my fathers passing, everything seems so alive, so bright, so painfully beautiful.

[I should split this into two posts, but i’m too tired, and somehow, they go together, young and old].