Life, with my dogs, living on one acre in Tasmania. Living on a low income, and with Complex PTSD. I write about all sorts of things. I called my Blog Echidna Home because I have echidnas that live here
(May be triggering ) How truly incredible this thing called the internet is! It is through this that I was able to discovery a online support group based on the mainland of Australia. Facilitated by those who have and are managing their hoarding I assume. It was like so many things easy for me to type in the interest in joining the support group and I was relieved when I was accepted. (not being in the state and it is a state health organisation operating the support meetings, I was unsure if I would be accepted). It turned out I am not the only interstate attendee. Only one meeting in and it was at times a bit stilted as we all I guess dealt with our own anxieties about this meeting. My levels of anxiety were so extreme. Yet I set the alarm, and abnormally for me I had no desire to go and do anything, as in flee or not connect. My more normal response to new situations.
The fact is knowing that hoarding is a major issue in many countries, and impacts individuals, families and communities is one thing. I knew other people hoarded. I knew! Really I knew! What I felt in meeting these other people was wow, I am not alone. I am not incompetent, I am not a failure, I am non of the things I have beaten myself up about or labelled myself; ashamed of how I Live and how I have somehow let my whole home become a place that bewilders me everyday.. and yet I manage to live in it. I make meals, I rarely eat out and the meals I make in my kitchen are fresh and tasty but I would not cook anything for anyone else…my kitchen is a hoarders, my meals do not make me ill. I wash my clothes, and dry them at present over my stair rails with the fire going, (winter here ). I can shower, and my toilets work.
The other major thing I have done, is asked for someone who specialises in helping clean and organise hoarders homes.(at least that is the blurb), I sent a message honest explaining my mental illness and I am a hoarder, how ashamed and full of anxiety I am just to ask for the quote. I received a lovely response which helps a little. I now wait for the person to contact me and hopefully make a date and time for doing the quote. Knowing that when that comes emotions will again surface and anxiety. Being on a National Disability Insurance Scheme Pension does give me some funding for support. I did not really understand much about the support, and agreed to have house and gardening funding even though I really REALLY did not want or need it. As it was for a few hours a month. I am fortunate that my psychologist appointments are funded on the scheme. Something I will be eternally thankful for.
I ended up sending a request to my co-ordinator asking if instead of the monthly hours and cost/payment could the amount be utilised in helping me deal with the hording. My co-ordinator was so happy that I had asked for help..I am to send the quote to her and my hope is they will cover it. Now my anxiety is about how much it will cost. I have to breathe deeply as I write as I can feel myself going down the vortex of all the other what ifs, etc.
I now having made the calls, and the MASSIVE STEP to ask for help publicly announcing my situation even though I have shared with people neighbours and friends others that I am a hoarder, this, This step a business specialising in hoarding..really seriously I don’t need that I can do it I will for my own coping mechanism have to take the person on the journey I had with a previous attempt to assist me clean my home and get rid of the ‘rubbish’ which destroyed my trust and made my hoarding worse. It is the only way for me to begin to have to trust again someone coming into my home and respectfully supporting me through a big step I know is not going to be easy. I know is going to be so bloody hard at times. But I also KNOW I am ready, I know for my mental health to continue to improve my home can not remain as it is. I can not live anymore like this, and it is so wrong for my dogs; who are not at risk or are they suffering, neglected or any other concerns anyone may have. My dogs are the highest priority in my life believe me. It is also wrong for me.
My dream is to have a plumber come in and fix my leaking kitchen pipe (not sure how many years that has been there but at least 2 or more) It is basically impossible to wash up in my kitchen. I may also be able to finally find the leak in my kitchen wall and have that fixed! Such very small things. The leaking pipe was not the reason I have become a hoarder, but my hoard is why neither of these things have been fixed. Not being able to wash up properly has let the kitchen basically become perhaps the worst room in the house. Ahhh here I go running off ahead of myself. Stop STOP..the contact with the person has not happened yet. Just for a quote. Breathe breathe.. feeling nauseous. what if the person does not ring, what if the quote is too high…breathe stop breathe. Be proud. I have asked for help. I have sought and found support. One step at a time. breathe.
When you live in the other hemisphere, and many of the news stories are of the fires in Spain, France, Portugal and many other locations in Europe, that England has had Red alerts for EXTREME Heat. Knowing what that feels like, the heat and fear of bush fires(wild fires) yet; Living in my world I woke to a rather unusual sight snow on the hills across the river the lowest it has been dusting the trees on the closest hill and settling on the ground. Weather advice is for gale force winds and maximum 7dC/33.8 fahrenheit. Overnight it hit -2dC/28.4dC at 7am. We have been cruising so far this winter, mild really, yet now mid winter as it is according to the months is making us very aware down in my valley that Winter is still here with some beauty. When you have snow so occasionally it is such a treat, even those who are stuck due to road closures do not really mind. Here sitting inside as it is way to wet for me out in the garden. The fire is toasty the dogs have eaten their bones after a run. My heart aches for those impacted and fearful of the wildfires. I know the possibility is so real in my beautiful valley home. I have watched plumes of smoke rising seen flames just across the river, had ash falling on my home, and land, burnt leaves, thankfully not burning still. I empathise for all in these situations.
Yet even with the snow covered lower mountains, nature is doing as she does, I picked my first jonquil (damaged by the wind and broken) her scent is sublime and she is such a pure white. I have placed her in my toilet, where her natural perfume (it is a very cool room which always has an open window) and when ever I go in it is so lovely. Both in looks and perfume one flower stem is long lasting and perfumes the room so well.
The Hellebore are just flowering. This one is white with purple spotty lines inside. So lovely and best the Wallabies and possums seem to not eat it.
As dusk falls and I have tended all the animals as well my own dinner. (I eat rather early) I have the wood fire stoked and I know I am so fortunate, to live with so much and have so much. To be able to live with nature is a privilege. I am very aware of how quickly this all may change. I hold onto the moments, and am very thankful.
Thanks for asking, I took two of my older chooks well one is a rooster for a spa treatment. Blue skies, and not a breath of wind, in a thick top (winter here) I walked carefully down into my chook run, it was slippery with frost/dampness. Marshmallow my faviourite hen. She has little if any vision in one eye, however do not let that make you think she is not a strong and feisty hen! She is mighty and feared. Roopert my white and faviourite rooster. I had neglected their legs, and noted that both had very gnarly looking legs, Scaly and I realised shit they had mites! I also noted one of her feet was swollen.
She is a sweet gentle hen and settles in my arms easily, she became used to this when she was a house hen due to her eye being hurt by another chook. So I carried her to where the spa awaited. I soaked her feet in warm salty water with a little dish washing detergent. To soften the deformed scales mites had created on her legs, I then gently removed them and I did apply a diluted apple cider vinegar solution which was understandably a shock and a little painful but it helps against infection. Finally a genourous application of paw paw ointment. Vaseline based which stays in place for ages and reduces the risk of dirt entering any open wounds from the descaling process. Prior to this I also was relieve to see no bumble foot she did have a clump of dirt in a fold of skin that was beginning to fold over, (and this would have potential to become infected and bumble foot) so I gently cleaned her feet and dried them completely. Also applied paw paw ointment to them rubbing it in.
Roopert was less desirable of his spa treatment. He managed a few scratches, but I wear them in acceptance as a sign I need to check everyone’s legs and feet more often. Roopert seemed to enjoy the warm water, understandably not so keen on the descaling nor the diluted vinegar application. He did have a lump in the underside of his foot thankfully it was not infected but a small rock had embedded itself in his foot and skin had grown over it, I guess like a splinter that is not painful. I was able to remove the stone, and clean and again apply the diluted vinegar solution, to the indented skin and cut the skin that had folded over the stone. There was no blood, it was just new skin thankfully. The paw paw ointment finished the spa treatment.
I am very happy to say that in my observations; now 2 days after their spa treatment both Marshmallow and Roopert are showing no signs of infection. Their legs look great and they both appear to be moving better and happier which makes sense if you have mites under your skin, very disconcerting to think about. Who knew as a ‘homesteader’ I would also be offering spa treatments for chickens! The scale is a bit like old long toenails..and generally does not hurt to remove it and it takes effort.
Both Roopert and Marshmallow are much happier with their treated legs and all healed now.
Opened my front door this morning to let the dogs out.
Seems we all like to have gourmet breakfasts every so often
Sensibly watching my dogs, who are actually not interested in the Wallaby. I also am obviously outside with them and keeping a close on eye on all animals. Even when the wallaby jumped off and away, neither Busby or Miss Treacle were interested.
Though Busby is going to check out the bales of pea straw thoroughl!
Looks like I will need to move these now wet pea straw bales I purchased for the garden out of the wallabies reach. Another of those jobs I was meaning to do. The chooks have loved scratching through some bales too.
Today a necessitiy to do some shopping for chook food and dog meat and bones. A few items for me. I loaded my two dogs into the car and noted battery was a bit flat as I have like many others been driving less due the increase in petrol prices (along with everything else almost). I am thankful it did turn over, ( I do own a battery charger just in case ) and after doing the shopping and having a lovely lunch at one of my favourite cafes in Huonville, DS Cafe where normally the dogs and I sit in the laneway. Today was gray and very cold I chose to sit inside by the fire. It would seem that my dogs waiting in the car, were not too happy at that. Having done all needed in town I needed to fill the car, in Huonvile price of petrol is $2.19 a Litre ($1.49US/1.25GBP/1.45euro/1.95CAD, for those in the USA a litre is almost 1/4 of a gallon making the price $8.80USD a gallon. I drove out of town filled up the car. as it was a 10cents a litre cheaper, but more to get the battery charged too win win. In the smaller town closer to where I live there is a wonderful couple of petrol stations that still serve you, and of course this makes the petrol more expensive. I do fill my car there if I have no need to go to Huonville. As I imagine the difference in price is lost by the 40+km return trip. However as a boost of my car battery was a necessity today and it has been quite a while since I have been for a real drive out of my local area(and I am only talking a 50km drive here lol) I went out to Crabtree, and found some new places I had not been before. A new campground on the side of the river. I also took the dogs for a walk along the beautiful riverside, my photos below share our day.
As I was driving back towards Huonville I was traveling slowly past the apple orchards and saw some movement: I found an area to turn around and came back to check what I had seen. These Cygnets are very early and relatively old as they are beginning to get their feathers. I was so thrilled to have noticed them and even more to have had my camera with me, even though I was a way away Mamma or Pappa Swan was not comfortable having photos of the babies being taken. Sensible swan, and rounded them up and wadled off throught the apple orchard.
Not many would have their trip to the shops end like this. Or have such gorgeous places so close to them to drive and enjoy the beauty. I am so very thankful to live in this beautiful valley on a very special island called Tasmania.
This is one of our favourite beach/riverside walks which is pretty close and if we take the long way home, it is on the way home. The rocks have many fossils, though over the years I have lived here, the rock cliff has eroded so much.
It was a beautiful winters day though it was a little windy we all enjoyed it.
The following photos are the northern end of this beach it is very different on this day as it was sandy.
Heck here it is July, I feel as if I have been on a different planet over the last few months. Its is all good just nary a post. Winter here in glorious Southern Tasmania the wood fire is going, and snow is on the distant mountains, as I sit writing listening to my two dogs are chomping on bones. We have all been on a short walk. The frost is still present and the sun has not reached my place as yet.
However today is going to be glorious and whilst I wait for the sun to come over the trees(how I wished I lived on top of the hill and not down near the river lol, though in summer I am happy in this position). I aim to get back into the garden, to clear an area of my ‘veggie growing area’. I also aim to dig at least one hole a day for about 10 days for the new fruit plants I have purchased that will be coming soon as bare rooted stock.
My mental health on the whole is good, I have no regrets about coming off my medication (with support) for me it was such a wonderful thing to get me through the really bad period, as I had and continue to have support from my psychologist. I knew it was time. I have not had an ADHD assessment done, yet in my heart I believe it is a fact, and wow if I had known years ago what a difference it would have made in lots of ways. Now this knowledge lets me relax about so many things that often would cause me anxiety and distress.
I took a break of several hours and worked outside in the garden. Winter gardening is all about the weeds and planning. Preparing and dreaming. I am just pottering attending to so many things slowly that have been neglected or forgotten in the last few years. Self care was my highest priority as I adjusted to life with a mental illness, asking for help (hard to do for me) and utilising the help both medication and professional. I feel right now as if I know what I need. I am working towards this and as I do I am content, even with any discontent.
Today lovely sunny one down here in the Huon still and just one of those great winter days. I decided to begin on an area of neglect in between the chicken run and my veggie garden. I had attempted to before I became ill create a pathway for the chooks out to the paddock, so they could not be tempted into the veggie garden. Well that all fell by the wayside and what I was left with is blue steel fencing embedded into the soil (that had made itself over the last 5 years and impaled by the most horrendous grass ever. (I call it onion grass because it bulbs and spreads and its a nightmare).
In the final photo you can get an idea of how deeply buried the fencing wire mesh was. Still more to do. I sort of got sidetracked when I popped into the veggie area and decided to weed a bed. I did come back and pick up all the onion grass and all bulbits I could (little buggers always miss one or many!) Used the top of the old dog house to through all these horrible pulled and cut out grass bulbs, which means no touching the dirt. Tool of choice was a serrated edge steak knife!
The garden bed I was distracted by. A lovely weed filled bed with grass growing around it and weeds. is the one on the left of first photo, completed clearing around the edges and inside. Winter is proving to be the time the weeds are sprouting here at my place. I may not have dug a hole and prepared for a new or older plant to go in today, I did weed a bed, always choices when you have a garden and always manyana.
I am now looking forward to tomorrow, as the weather is again meant to be lovely as today. I have my eager helpers the dog/s and chickens and I hope to do more of the buried treasure recovery.
I have had a beautiful day today until mid afternoon. I was in my kitchen cooking, (yes I do cook in amongst my hoarders mess). I happened to look out my window and it looked like someone was standing in my paddock, which borders the road. Sometimes I can have trouble with my eyes playing tricks on me with depth of field. As I was not certain, as anyone would, I moved out side to where I could ascertain if they were on my property or not. At first I had no idea who it was and it was just about the moment I was about to ask what the fuck they were doing when I realised it was a neighbour. Taking photos of the sky. I said Hi (instead of screaming what the hell do You think you are doing on my property), and even though I felt some disquiet about someone being on my property; knowing it was my neighbour felt better and I decided to just leave it.
As the afternoon progressed into the early evening I found myself angry and becoming fixated on a particular post (on a couple of pages ) on facebook and basically was very negative and questioning everything that the organisation did. When I wrote my own post putting my personal opinion on this organisation and all its ‘faults’, and then responding to comments I began to see I was angry and fixated. I was placing my anger in the wrong direction and I was feeling so overwhelmed and frustrated. I deleted all the posts and comments I was able too. The original post had been removed by either the admin or OP. I had not been abusive, or sworn it was just the person who comes out in me when I am triggered. Not an excuse I am owning up to my actions that can result from being triggered. Taking the dogs for a walk and returning home, I was still feeling full of something, anger tension and frustration, and then I began to realise I felt violated, disrespected and a bit abused. Big sigh as I write this, and when I began to realise what was really happening. I understand the desire to quickly grab your camera and capture the few moments of beauty, I do it myself all the time. Difference being I respect peoples land and homes.
I really noted how bad I was feeling my anger tightness in my chest and head, I even recall saying I was feeling a headache coming on as I said hi to my neighbour. I did not remain outside and chat in a pleasant and friendly way as if I had seen her across the fence. I returned inside and finished getting my baking underway. I noted feeling so increasingly something..frustrated angry disrespected…sigh all those things. I was not OK I was struggling and had been triggered I was struggling for a while to contain the feelings. It was pressure cooker building inside of me.
I did not desire to have a face to face dealing over the matter. As in my current hyper aroused situation I would have been potentially volatile. NOT physically but certainly verbally.
I did stop, collected myself and full of nausea and heart beating so loudly I could hear it reverberating my mouth dry shoulders and hands tight I opened messenger on Facebook. I wrote the following:- the first line was their name and it was supposed to read I was not going to say anything(my typing perhaps shows how I was feeling at the time).
Right now I do not want to know the response. I do not want to look at it, read it or have to deal with it. I am thinking it will be an apology, and then I think is that enough! Is that what I want. The real answer is NO I do not want an apology, I do not need an apology, or what ever the response will be. I can not imagine this would have happened on someone else’s home, (of course I may be incorrect) but my feelings now are why disrespect my personal boundaries my property, my privacy, my home. I am not OK with it. I am not traveling well with it. I want YOU to hear my words, to feel what I am feeling and now to KNOW I WILL NOT ALLOW you or anyone else to do what you wish in regard to me and my home. I will worry and try not to imagine how often this may have occurred previously, and how much of my privacy is real! That last comment hits me like I have just hit a brick wall. As well as I am and as well as I am doing off my medication I have to acknowledge I DO have a mental illness. I have to stand up for ME and MY NEEDS, regardless of what others may think or feel. I am the only person who knows what is best for my well being and what makes me content and happy.
I do not believe that valuing my personal space, my home and land as my safe and secure place is about my mental illness in total. I do believe that most people are the same. For me my home and land is like my total security, a fortress and perhaps the only place where I have control over some things. I also feel and believe most people would feel somewhat affronted in having a person just appear on their land or garden taking photos. (recall I did not know who it was for a while). Perhaps tomorrow I will read the reply if there is one. I do fear that my neighbour may attempt to make personal contact with me and that would be another trigger for me. tonight I am not in any place to deal with face to face or written response. Tomorrow I am planning to leave take the dogs and have time away from my sanctuary. The place I come to when I feel triggered and need safety. I am struggling and am thankful I do not have any funds as I have been tempted to flee this afternoon to a dog friendly accommodation to avoid any potential face to face. Yet we are friendly we are good neighbours and they have had me over and treated me as family over the years. I do not want to loose that. I do have desire to run away..flee. I am thankful I can not. I am thankful I can post here and share this real life experience. The reality of life with CPTSD, with anxiety with my mental illness. I am so proud that off my medication I have managed to make myself find a way to express my feelings and redirect them to the appropriate situation/person. I am so happy I was able to realise what my anger and posts on Facebook were actually about. Removing them and directing a resonable message to the right person.
I am proud I have achieved so much this evening, I will try to redirect the angst I am still feeling over the what ifs and future contacts. I have not reached for high sugar simple carbohydrates to stuff the feelings and hurt down. That is something to be proud of. I am thankful I can write about this experience which is sort of a debriefing for me. I am proud in the knowledge that I have asserted myself well and wisely to the person involved.
It is so dry here we have had so little rain since December and I have basically given up tending my veggie area. My water tanks are getting very low, I am totally reliant on water tanks for all my house/garden/veggie garden, and all creatures that live permanently and visit my little acre. There is rain forecast for tonight and tomorrow, sadly the forecast has gone from all day rain to localised showers. One of the things to consider if you are considering life in a rural Tasmania. I am not connected nor does any town water pipes go past my home and land. For this I am very happy. The cost even if you are not attached to the councils water supply is high just for having the ‘potential to access town water and for I imagine cost in relation to maintenance for that ‘potential’ access.
Apart from this the days have been stunning. Temperatures 25dC/77dF, during the day with cool nights clear skies part of the reason I love Autumn in my valley. My beautiful valley is home to Forestry, something I am not against in general, I live in a timber home, my furniture is wooden, and my partner was a wood turner. I also burn wood for winter warmth. 100% renewable resource. One of the issues we have is burning off, which is happening right now.
Strangely since many of the areas are as here dry so dry. I am thankful that this years burns so far have not been so huge that the smoke is tarnishing and changing the colour of the sky, or filling my home with smoke. Since our bush fires back in 2019 I and many others get a bit ‘triggered’ with it. I am not going to get into the for and against the industry nor the burning off process. I am just very happy that the smoke is not hanging about nor was there so much burning off in the last couple of days where I would be forced to remain in doors on such stunning days as in past yea
Something you need to be aware of is this happens all over Tasmania. It will impact you if you live near to forestry land. Or as in my case quite a distance away. Something to consider if you are thinking of moving to our beautiful state. (so many people are it amazes me).
I love driving on Forestry roads here very little traffic, and I have only ever found the truckers working for Forestry have been respectful and I just pull over as far as I can when logging trucks are coming behind me, there bye enabling them to continue on their work journey and not stuck behind me traveling slowly looking at all about me. The above photos were taken several years ago.
Back in January I booked and paid for a workshop in making a Turkish light shade. April seemed so far away and basically I forgot about it. In the meantime a lot had been happening not the least my withdrawal off my medication Desvenalfaxine. (all good there now). I received a reminder email of the course a week before hand which was great. I did not think about it too much even the day before I was not overthinking it. I got up the morning off ensuring my dogs had their exercise and it was a lovely cool morning which would be cooler up in the higher land at Ferntree which is the last community before you drive up to Kunyani, (Mt Wellington).
I was so delighted that this workshop was not in Hobart or Kingston where parking is often a bit of an issue. I left my dogs in the car and hobbled on my crutches (small tear to my meniscus recovery going really well). Entered the building and was awed by all the beautiful handmade lights on display along with other items. I sat down and in front of me was a great set up with a lovely selection of mosaic tiles and beads. Each place had a small tray to attempt to contain the mosaics as you went along. A double sided pattern selection if you were not prepared with your own, and glue. I had no idea what I was going to do, that took a lot of time for me about 15 mins. I was happy to be a table with two others who were on their own and not really chatty, concentrating as we began.
After a while the woman next to me began to chat, and whilst I was not really desiring of being in a conversation it became apparent to me that perhaps she needed to share, recently single mother of two who was adjusting to leaving a ‘very unpleasant’ her words, relationship. I am not sure why but so often this sort of situation happens to me, and now living through my own serious, the death of my partner and adapting to life alone, then a couple of years later my breakdown. I will always try to sit with the person, and if they wish let them share as they desire. I know from my own experience that; 1) I may be the only person in a long time who talks with them, 2) This person may be so down deeply depressed and reaching out, just for something, having been in that situation myself, one person unknowingly can make a huge difference to someone else’s life. 3) loneliness is much more prevalent than most would be aware of. 4) Just having someone listen to you and hear you is so important. 5) listening to someone else does not mean you have to be friends or keep a connection.
As the time 2.5hours was going by I was growing happier with what I was doing. Especially once I stopped my mind from overthinking everything and accepting what ever I made would look wonderful and it would be something I had created.
The photos above are of my work in progress and where I ended up by the end of the 2.5 hours. I had not totally finished the first process of application to the whole of the bowel of the shade. I was able to take enough tiles and beads home plus the rest of the supplies required to complete my project.
I have found over the last few years whilst on my medication that completing anything has been a major issue. I have a few projects that have been put up or damaged as I have not completed them. Similar if I purchase any equipment or gardening tools that require to be assembled at home, it is not likely to happen; nope not true It wont happen. Big sigh there.
The requirements to complete the shade for me involved two more days allowing for drying times post application of each level of work. I am so proud of completing my shade and putting my lamp together. I am so happy each time I look at it, I see a completed marathon! To attend the workshop, to finish it in very timely period was in my spirit the same feeling someone else would have completing their first marathon. This is what it is like for me to live with my mental illness. Along with the time it takes me to adjust after spending so much time in a new environment, with complete strangers and doing something new. I am competent my mask of ‘Normality’ is a very learned and accomplished skill I have. The recovery from using my mask of normality can take several days. Even when spending time with people I know I usually will remain at home. These days with my knowledge for me this is totally normal and part of who I am. That most people will not even be aware that I am wearing a mask. More of that in another post.
I am so thankful for now having be able to do this. I am sharing the lovely business who brings their workshop from the mainland to Tasmania, I am not receiving any payment or discount for sharing their details. I do so because it was a really enjoyable workshop very professionally done so everyone including the kids attending were able to take home an almost finished product. ( due to drying times you can not finish on that day). https://www.artmasterclass.com.au/ they also sell mail kits so you can make some of the items they offer at home. I felt so safe and comfortable no pressure and no expectations except those I may or may not put on myself.
Hi here I am and what a couple of weeks it has been since I last posted. I had a few replies to my emails in regard to issues of accessibility for rural and remote rural people who need to see a psychiatrist. The huge costs now involved for anyone even Pension card holders and unemployed will now have to pay several hundred dollars for an initial psychologist or psychiatrist appointment and receive a rebate that means a large out of pocket expense on a service that was bulk billed up until late 2021. My cost to see a psychiatrist was I thought going to be $200, and I would be rebated about $60 back arrgh was bad enough. I was actually devastated when informed I needed to see a new psychiatrist and this would now cost me $600! I blanked out the rebate but it was only a small proportion of the cost. Let me put that into focus. My monthly pension from NDIS is $1890 roughly. I own my home out right, I have no debts. I will struggle to find this amount. How anyone else on a pension or unemployment a student will be able to afford it makes me incredibly distressed and anxious for their well being. Not sure if things will change but here in Australia we are in a Federal Election year and expect the Prime Minister to announce soon when the Federal election will be. Our process is EXTREMELY different to USA for which I am very grateful. Here the Party and we have three major ones, Liberal who are in power now more right side leaning, Labor the opposition more left side and the Greens who are more left than Labor I guess. It will be a very interesting and frustrating time in the next period of time. I would like to have gone further with the issues and kept emailing people who may really be able to see that this will increase mental health trauma and make many sicker, and potentially self harm. For my own well being I have to minimise my frustration and angst, as it creates issues in my own mental health and how I am managing. All I can do is hope that things will get better in regard to this disgraceful situation for the people who really need support and access to mental health professionals and now can not afford it.
I had a physical issue occur three weeks a go. I had been sitting on my lounge with my knee bent under me, and I realised I had hurt something inside my knee. I was caring for my knee and myself (having been a RN) I knew what was good. It was healing and going fairly well. I could weight bare on it, I could bend it and straighten it with a little pain. I was not needing any support to walk on it I was just cautious. I let the dogs out one night and when they returned inside I turned after closing the door, only to suddenly find myself on the floor. My knee had given out on me. I knew that was a concern. Though right at that precise moment I had other concerns.
There are very few positives when you are a hoarder. I however was unharmed from the fall as I landed on a pile of clothes. (no they had not contributed nor had I tripped over anything) The access from the door to living area is a clear path with crap on the sides. I had fallen at an angle, thankfully the clothes stopped me potentially hurting myself even more. I was now laughing, as I could see both my dogs just looking at me, like what you doing down there Mamma? I was bewildered as to what had happened and how I was going to get up. I managed it not exactly sure, needs certainly must.
I realised my knee had given out, and now it hurt. I put my injured knee to the floor and I could walk on it but gingerly. Depending on how it was positioned it hurt more. I realised it was not brilliant, but it was not so bad that I was too worried about it that night. I took some anti inflammatory medication and paracetamol, slept well but even in sleep felt pain when I moved into certain positions. On waking the next morning I made the decision my knee was not badly injured, I could manage going up stairs one at a time good leg first and holding tightly to the rails. Coming down was not as painful or difficult. As I have steps to come in and out of the house, this situation raised concern, along with the fear of my knee giving out again at any time depending on how I moved my leg. I was not in a lot of pain, just at times if I moved my leg in a way and my knee responded in a very negative ooops Nope.
I live out of town, no public transport, taxis, and not sure about Uber (but I could not afford Uber to Hobart anyway or a taxi). I then began to worry about my dogs. I really knew my only choice was to head to the public hospital in Hobart. As the nearest radiography business was 50km away and I would have to go to my GP get an appointment get to Kingston, then return. Meaning a lot of in and out of a vehicle. If anything was needed I may still end up at the public hospital Royal Hobart anyway. The decision was not difficult for me, I tried to see if any friend or neighbour may be able to take me. Nope. OK. I really began to be concerned about the dogs. It was too hot for them to be in a car in a car park(which would be super noisy and smelly) for who knew how long, better they were at home. Though sometimes you can be waiting 15+ hours to be seen at the Royal emergency depending on what was happening and this was not really an emergency. I tried to see if the dogs could go to a friends they were not home. I was in pain at the end of my abilities having tried to find a solution for the dogs, as I knew I could drive myself (which is why I did not take any medication) my car is an automatic and it was the leg I did not need to drive my car, how fortunate was that. I must have cried as I finished the call to my friend. I had just sat overwhelmed worried for my dogs being locked up inside the house all day and potentially into the night and maybe longer. As I began to work out logistics, I had decided the worst case scenario would be I would have terrible mess to clean up on my return. I decided to make a huge effort and take the dogs for a run (me driving the car ) before I left so hopefully they would use their bowels. Success one less worry. Now what to use as a crutch or support for me to be able to get from the car park to the hospital? I was sitting on the lounge and next thing the dogs are barking someone is on my deck and opening the door. I am freaking out so mortified that someone is coming into my home (hoarders house no one allowed in). I loose it. and flee. well end up turning my back on her and just sobbing please get out get out please! she does I am now hysterical and the dogs are perplexed and distressed at my sobs. All I can now think about is she knows how bad my house is NOOOOOooo.
I sit for what feels like an eternity, reassure the dogs and find a broom to use as a crutch. Broom tucked under my arm the plastic knob on the handle end is pointed and at that point in time I don’t notice. I sneak a look out the window hoping that my neighbour has gone. She has. I hobble to the car, leaving my dogs inside.
I drive to Hobart, find a parking spot as close to the elevators closest to the hospital side of the car park. I go down into a part of a busy mall the broom under my arm, the head of the soft indoor broom down on the floor firmly supporting me. I swept as I hobbled out through the mall, up to the traffic lights, crossed the road, and down a very steep entrance drive for ambulances and pedestarians to the Emergency entrance. Mask on the whole way, I was incredibly fortunate, that it seemed there was only one person waiting but of course you have no idea how many people or how serious they are already in the department. What I did know having worked at emergency and hoped it had not changed much was that lunch breaks start about 11:30 and I was there at 10:30, people wanting a sick certificate for work would have been or were being seen. That very few work accidents happen so early in the morning at work. No major vehicle accidents had happened. It was too early for school accidents too. Sometimes it pays to have some knowledge. I waited in the waiting area maybe 10 mins 15max. Then me and my broom went in and the Nurse practitioner was efficient and too my surprise no BP TEmp OBs were taken. Wow somethings had changed for the better. I mean ambulant patient not complaining of feeling ill does not need those. I waited maybe an hour for an X ray, which was taken and showed there may be a small tear of my meniscus of my knee. Or it may have been the way my trousers were impacting the X ray? I would be contacted if I needed a review. Nurse Practitioner did some movements of my knee cap and nothing hurt bad enough to make me squeal. This surprised him, and when I had told him about the activity where it hurt most as in up from sitting standing position, and climbing up stairs, and my now phobia about falling due to knee giving way. This was the main reason I had presented. It was decided that crutches for a week and when I was weary form moving without them. Some resting off it when it was aching or painful, but using it was the best remedy. I was offered some medication to have now, but as I had to drive home and strangely Ibuprofen and paracetamol make me tired. I ask if I could have something a bit stronger, and was only able to have provided 8 Panadine forte on script. I just wanted to be able to sleep completely pain free that night.
I was fitted with crutches, and released. All up three and half hours. WOW! As I was leaving I noted that the emergency room waiting area was full now as was the area behind where I was now discharged from. I made my way back to the car park, paid the $6 and as I lowered myself into the car pulling the crutches across me and angled safely in the passenger seat. I buckled up, very relieved, exhausted and hungry (I had eaten nothing and had one glass of water ). As I had to get the script for Panadine forte filled I went to a local cafe, a coffee and food as I waited. Two friends were there and we had a lovely visit under the shade of the trees with the heat surrounding us. I left not too long later picked up my medication and home.
If only someone could sell that feeling: Driving into your driveway, getting out of the car, opening the front door and being greeted exuberantly by two warm beings who love you so much. My heart was so overwhelmed and my soul exhausted I began to cry as I let the dogs sniff my new helpers. Tears running down my face as I hobbled up the steps went inside, I fed my dearest beings in my life. Knowing that it was very doubtful I would be getting up very soon once I threw myself down on my mattress on the floor(yes it is still down stairs on the floor after Busby’s operation). Making life with a banged up knee much easier. I had opened the door out on the deck so the dogs could go in and out if needed. I now had taken medication for pain and inflammation. I woke up seven hours later. Two dogs pressing hard into each side I was pinned down on the bed under the sheet. The fan going and the sun setting no cool breeze. SIGH… in describable contentment and happiness at that moment.
My knee is getting back to pre injury, not sure my thoughts of trusting it are. I believe that is pretty normal. I am so thankful I was not worse off. I am so thankful I am content, I am so thankful my dogs were fine, I am so thankful to have friends and people I could call. I am especially thankful that I did not allow myself to feel that I had no friends, no-one to help me, and go down that path I have often feeling so worthless. I am thankful I am strong, independent able to think logically and rationally when plans change. Not letting my anxiety take over.