RESTLESS/Chapter 21

Come on 2021…hope that better outcomes are there for the whole of mankind

Realisation and Recognition

Realisation has happened already but I need to reiterate it.
I realised back in 2017 that my mobility issue was shifting. Maybe it was caused by endless and relentless bouncing whilst driving over spinifex clumps!
In January of 2018 I went on my last 4×4 trip with old mates Ron Moon and Glenn Marshall who took me on an explore of the High Country in Victoria. I had lost my walking staff in Queensland and now I was on a walker to walk around keeping me on an even keel.
In March 2018, I had a ‘Sciatica Event’, ambulance to the Hospital and then I was told to take two Panadol and go home. But my walking days were over with my legs not being able to support my weight due to neuro interference in the nerves of my neck, back and legs. Then I received a letter from the Royal Adelaide Hospital that what I had described in in my application via my GP did not warrant attention by a Specialist and that they were taking my name off the Wait list. This letter arrived 2 years, 4 months and 8 days after it had been lodged. In the mean time, however, I was able to see a Neuro Specialist through caring friends  I have in Melbourne, and their contacts in Adelaide who investigated and then showed me with the help of a MRI what my ailments are and that I was on the wrong side of the spectrum to have my back fiddled with. Pain killers such as Naproxen, Lypralin and Zydol,    an Opiate, are the order of the day. Then there is Sozol to combat interference of the various chemicals within my gut. And I need to take a laxative to combat the effects of the drugs in my food intake.
The local doctors showed little care from 2013 to the present and I had to endure multiple appointments with locums and locals to nut out a painkiller regimen over this time.
Over the past two and a half years I have become disabled, mainly due to being stuck in a wheel chair and not exercising I have to depend on my wife and best friend, Jude, to look after me. I am still able to shower and wash myself, dress myself, make the bed, water the Vegie Patch and Drive the car. Jude gets a Carers Allowance which pays $0.78 per hour for the 168 hour week. It all helps.
Judith and I did two more caravan trips in 2019 and 2020 and by then I had recognised that where I am at is where I shall stay and just slowly deteriorate. 4×4 Trips and towing holidays had come to an end. It was time to sell the caravan and we soon found a punter. The yard has so much space now!
Jude goes to her Crochet Knitting group once a week and I go to the Men’s Shed once a week. It gives us much needed interaction with other people. This is where both our mothers fell down on by isolating themselves.
In a previous life in the 1970’s, Jude and I ran a Café and Cinema in South Africa and in 1982, whilst on holiday in South Africa, I saw a business opportunity in the early days of Videos and Beta Video machines and we had a lot of fun and provided an opportunity for the locals as well as for the oppressed peoples of my birthplace, to enjoy movies. I then sold the business 18 months later and returned to Australia in 1984.
Now we are back watching Movies and TV Shows provided by Netflix and and computerised Smart TV’s. We have one Smart TV each in our separate bedrooms, and earphones and for now it costs $16 per month to be entertained which is good value.
Yes, we are now the Elder Generation, and we are being cared for in our own home by an Aged Care Provider. At least that is what is indicated on the paperwork.
So things are looking up as we see out our twilight years in The Lucky Country


We decided that the time had come to visit Kangaroo Island as it was always on our Bucket List. Judith spearheaded the research. Word was out that we should support our local businesses as everyone was struggling.
Cape Barron Geese found all over KI
At the beginning of 2020 a lightning-strike fire, got out of control, created a severe up-draught which in turn brought in winds and burned nearly half of Kangaroo Island causing 2 human deaths and untold damage to tourist accommodation and infrastructure. It is estimated that up to a million wildlife animals succumbed. Roads and fauna and flora needed to recover and we will  take another trip the to look specifically at the attributes of the National Park at a later date.



Casting off

KI and Penneshaw Ferry


I was loaded on to the the ferry by an attendant wheeling an electric wheelchair which was hooked up to a winch type machine and a smooth ride to the top ensued. Our 7 day stay on the island included driving to lots of landmarks and three different  sleepover places such as Western Region Caravan Park, American River and Penneshaw.  Of-course we needed wheelchair access as a priority and that we got. (click on thumbnail photos to enlarge)


Long white beaches

Long white beaches

Heading west

New cabins

Sleepy Koala

Recovering forests

Cleared farming land

Grass trees

Western River

Seal Beach

Seal Beach

Mother seal giving birth

My little helper

Western Grey Kangaroo subspecies

In March I was advised that I would be receiving an accumulative grant from the government to retire in our own home to the tune of $35k per annum to be spent on nurses and home help and some mechanical aides but everything had to be vetted by our appointed Care-giver. We did the paperwork and so it started at a governmental pace.
We had very little rain this year and by June we were 100 mm behind the average but then the rains came and by end July we were only 50 mm short. The land was breathing a sigh if relief.
I had a cystoscopy where a camera is used to look inside the bladder and all is clear. Four years have passed since chemo and radiation and extreme diet and I am feeling good. In April I had my first AstraZeneca vaccination and the second one in July. But I have accumulated some weight again. had hers just after me and her booster at the beginning of August
Some days after my first Jab I started hunting for air. It was Saturday afternoon and Jude drove me up to the hospital where a clever nurse spotted my symptoms immediately, rang the
on-duty Doctor to get instructions and put me o bed, where I stayed a week. I was put on Oxygen, received various injections and the following morning I was given a powerful diuretic, and a 9 litre capacity adult nappy and was told that I could urinate at will as I would never fill the nappy. Two hours later it overflowed and I had to have the whole bed changed, I continued to  shed water and was put on a catheter which I filled on a regular two hourly basis. The Doctor came around after I had had a ECG and asked that if Push came to Shove do I want to be revived and I said “yes, of course” but the previous day I said in a throw-away-line, that if the end came now I wouldn’t protest as I had had enough of Issues!
Ron and Viv called in on Judith on their way past to somewhere and then came by to the hospital and I talked to them through the window. They were in a hurry to get somewhere and wouldn’t stay this time. I talked my way out of the hospital on the Friday and have been good ever since. I suffer from accumulated water in my left leg and have been given a diuretic to take each day.
While I was in hospital the plumbers came and connected our house up to the CWMS (Community Wastewater Nanagement System). That cost $10k and we had some other work done which cost a further $8k and now we have a beautiful accessible shower for disabled persons and our Laundry has had a Make-over as well and the floors and walls have been re-tiled.
Come June and the Delta strain of the virus started to wreak havoc in the land and a number of lock-downs occurred in the states with various regulations and people started to protesting in Sydney and Melbourne. I had my 2nd Jab in July and Judith had hers early in August, We all breathed a sigh of relief when we were set free from lockdown again. The rains came and we measured 70mm for the month of July
Single figure temperatures have kept us indoors with reverse cycle aircondioning warming the house in early August. I need new scripts and have to navigate the new Locum strategy now that Goyders Line Medical has retreated back to Jamestown and have left us with Locums.
Clumsy and accident prone:
Jude said that I should be able to wear her red woolen socks as I can never get good warm socks that don’t cut off circulation.
So I was in my room fitting the right sock when I leaned over and slipped off the seat of my scooter.
My shoulder hit the floor and my cranium slammed in to the lower door hinge of the clothes cupboard. Lots red sticky stuff over my face, clothes and floor.
Jude rang 000
The ambulance officers used a special winch/jack tool to get me up off the floor and on to a trolley-bed and into the ambulance.
The locum on duty put 5 stitches to my head, gave me panadol and said on yer bike, bloke.
I will take a photo of the damage when the bandage comes off
NEVER a dull moment
The stitches came out the following Monday week and the wound was 95% healed. I have Community Nurses on regular visits twice a week
Murray Bridge:
The first week into spring, we packed our bags, ferried the dogs to the doggy motel and set off for Murray Bridge with paid upfront intent of Walking with the lions and a paddleboat lunch cruise. The vivid colours of green wheat, yellow canola and white windmills clawed out at us in this new beginning of the growth cycle.

Spring colours


Judith had booked us into a motel with an address on Adelaide Road and I had visions of thrucks roaring into the night rattling the TV off the wall hook but no, it was nothing likr that as the motel was more than 100 metres from the road and traffic died down by 6pm.
Monarto Zoo, just 16km from Murray Bridge took up most of the following day and it was really enjoyable. In our life we have seen all the large animals in the wild but it was ok seeing them in this form of enclosure.
The lion tour is known as the 360 whereby we humans are in a cage and the lions are out on the outside. Judith paiod extra to feed the lions.

Lioness on top of cage

                                  King of the Beasts taking a nap

Feeding meat scraps

The next day we spent the day scouring the Op Shops….well Judith did as I just did the driving and listened to the radio when I had the car to Ranger  myself. We had a great lunch at the Murray Bridge Hotel.
On Friday we had a 3 hour cruise on the Murray River which included a great lunch
Saturday and we left Murray Bridge and moseyed on along to Mount Pleasant where there was a Spring Garden Fair and Market.

Then it was on to Kapunda Caravan Park wheren they have a designated Disabled Overnight Accommodation, the price being $145 per night for a ramp leading up to the front door, a King size bed. We slept like logs and luxuriated in the shower the following miorning.

Home by lunch time on Sunday after taking the shortcut tto Saddleworth  on the Barrier Highway. The furry children were happy to see us again when we picked them up after first unpacking the car at home.
Life goes on. I need to take Frusimade water reduction tablets daily although I skip Wednesdays as it become too awkward at Men’s Shed as my bladder runs every half an hour until about 10.30
I had two front lower teeth taken out as they were rotten. Our ‘slip of a girl’ Dentist removed them with ease. Now I have to find a denture man to fill in the gap.
Summer has arrived. We have have changed the Men’s Shed schedule to three days a week. Monday and Friday for Workshop, Wednesday for Coffee and chatter, and Tuesday for ‘Ladies Training Day’. I have put my hand up to do some painting to a project.
After a lot of deliberation, I decided that the best and cheapest way forward for me  was to buy a small car with a large entry/exit for a cheap price and found a local one in one of the Buy and Sell Forums on Facebook.
Although I am not a Ford fan I have had a few of them over the years. So this one is a 2006 Ford Focus fwd 2 litre petrol engine. The interior is immaculate but the outer skin shows a few traffic kisses over it’s 16 years. An odd thing about it is the left hand trafficator so it takes a bit of adjustment when turning left or right ! Obviously the car is prepared for Left Hand Drive and the built to Right Hand Drive. I have managed to disassemble my old wheelchair, fit the bits to the rear seats and then man-handled it back over my head and assembled it whilst sitting in the driver’s seat. At the Men’s Shed there is normally someone to help me be seated and the chair does not need dis or re-assembling.
My new tilt-chair arrived, as did my hospital-bed table. I have also scored a new mattress for my bed and a 2021 padded seat manual wheelchair. I am only waiting on a wheeled shower chair so that I can move freely under the shower. Alas, I am dealing with government departments.
It is late Spring now and though there are rain showers around we are at least 150mm behind the average rainfall. Maybe we will get some good summer rains.
Three weeks in November and we are engaged for dentures in Port Pirie, new reading glasses in Whyalla and a cystoscope in Elizabeth South. These days we take time off and stay over when doing long trips and we have found good places that cater for disabled people.
Posted in Restless.