Monthly Archives: January 2017

AUSTRALIA DAY AND ME

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AUSTRALIA DAY AND ME

What does Australia Day mean to me?

I wish to acknowledge the custodians of this land, 
To the Elders past and present. 
I acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution 
they make to the life of this land 

Facts

  • The 26th of January commemorates the landing of Captain Cook on these shores and the commencement of white settlement in this land.
  • This day is known by the First Australians as Invasion Day the beginning of a period of division, deprivation, war, ongoing breaches of human rights, and genocide.

These facts cannot be changed or undone in any way – this is the history of white settlement in Australia.

My Position

  • By accident of birth, I am a white Australian female.
  • Well educated, middle-class background. I am retired, a full-time student, a wife, and a grandmother.
  • I understand I speak from a position of white privilege.
  • I am a 5th generation born in this land

How do we move forward

  • I don’t know –  I acknowledge the facts that this land I call my home was invaded and thousands and thousands were massacred and that prejudice and injustice remain part of the society we live in.
  • I am sorry for all of these actions
  • I do acknowledge the collective responsibility of all citizens and governments for past actions.
  • I acknowledge the actions of the succeeding governments that have not been inclusive of our First Australians and have restricted their place in the democratic processes of government
  • Our First Australians  MUST have the same rights and obligations and be treated as full citizens of this bountiful land.
  • These rights and responsibilities MUST be enshrined in law
  • Prejudice and deprivation MUST be abolished
  • All of us need to work together to move forward – it is impossible to turn back the clock, and we can work for inclusiveness, freedom from discrimination and learn to share this beautiful land together.
  • I was excited to learn that maybe, my great great grandfather, was possibly a Boon Wurrung man and so disappointed to discover he wasn’t.
  • I wonder at the sense of belonging to country that our First Australians feel – I would love to have that deep and abiding understanding connection to this land.
  • I do have a sense of wonder at having had the honour of being born in this great country.
  • I feel like the adopted child –I am fortunate because, my forbearers –  made a conscious decision to make this beautiful place their home.

What I cannot do

  • I can’t change the past
  • I can’t change the colour of my skin
  • I can’t feel your pain because I am not you.

What I can do

  • I can speak up about Aboriginal deaths in custody
  • I can condemn racial profiling
  • I can lobby and speak out
    • against oppression and prejudice
    • for greater improvement in the provision of education
    • for better delivery of heath services
    • for better living standards
  • I can become better informed about how I may help others understand the need for true reconciliation
  • I can denounce racist attitudes
  • I can refuse to laugh at racist jokes
  • I can refuse to discriminate against people because of the colour of their skin
  • I can acknowledge the acts of the past and present and say I am sorry that these have occurred and mean that statement with my whole being
  • I can empathise and support

 

I believe change is possible and that it starts with you and me

Healing in this country requires a lot of love, courage, and honesty and the belief it is possible. Where there is true care, there is very little division.

—Official website of the movie Kanyini

Today I pay homage to one of the greatest Australians I have ever met,  a  proud Yorta Yorta man  Sir Douglas Nicholls.

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He was born in Cumeroogunga, near the Murray River in New South Wales, and was Australia’s first Indigenous state governor.(1906–1988)

 

 

Vegan or not to Vegan and Hospitals

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Vegan or not to Vegan and Hospitals

I thought I would follow up on my post of 24th of November 2016, about changing to a semi-vegetarian diet. Little did I know what obstacles were going to be hurled at me in the next eight weeks.  And I suspect there are more to come.

It has been eight weeks since I have eaten any red meat, pork or processed meats. Free range chicken and fish are still on the menu. I drink a minimum of two litres of water a day and a very occasional glass of wine  (on my birthday and it was yuk…too sweet) and trying to knock sugar out of my diet. I have dropped 3 kgs and kept it off.

There has been no specific exercise regime. I feel better, fitter and my skin is much clearer.

Now truth time. Here is the crunch. I have fallen off my high pedestal a couple of times. Twice I have been to KFC – once was my birthday and do the four party pies I scoffed at a luncheon count?  How do you forget and just put food in your mouth?  Nah, don’t want to even think about Freud and his theories!

Let me rewind the last three days.  I have tried and been doing reasonably well until my husband became ill and was admitted to ICU on Wednesday.  We had planned to have lunch with my cousin at Coolum Surf Club and instead I ended up following an ambulance all over the Coast as we went from doctors surgery to Nambour Hospital to Buderim Private Hospital.

My husband will go to any lengths to avoid going north of Maroochydore for a family gathering but this is ridiculous.

However, I veer away from my engaging story.  My man remains in ICU  and yesterday the stress got to me.  Are you a comfort eater?  I know I am.

Of course, a stay in hospital involves new PJ’s etc. and now with the attempt to normalise the process, when a person is ambulatory, they are required to don day wear. Now as my man’s shorts and shirts are all a bit worn, this necessitated a trip to the Lowes Menswear at the Plaza to buy some shorts and button through shirts.  Thank you to the lovely sales person who helped me out.  He is covered in wires and hooked up to a slew of monitors at present so button through shirts is a necessity. I also had to provide his medications.  This also precipitated some retail therapy for me.  The result, three pairs of lightweight shorts, two shirts and a new pair of PJ’s, boxes of medication, and two skirts and two t-shirts later from “Les Target.”  In my defense, they did have a spot sale and I landed a whopping discount, and although my wallet is now nearly $300.00 lighter, I did save  $110.00  with discounts.

I felt very self-righteous I marched past the food court and McDonalds and Grilled twice  as I entered and exited the Plaza.  Apart from the chocolate brownie and salad sandwich earlier in the day I had stayed on track.

Then, disaster struck.  I was driving along Aerodrome Road when the McDonalds jumped out and dragged the car into the parking bays. I was on auto pilot.   What could I do I was trapped.  I gave in with a vengeance.

The menu is too confusing in there these days. I went for what I knew. A double quarter pounder with cheese upsized meal. I ate the burger, and funnily enough, it didn’t taste the way I thought it would. It tasted like chemicals and the bun was bleh like light weight cardboard. I am not a fan of bread at the best of times.  I had three chips and drank all the Coke.  Things do go better with Coke especially when they are greasy. The grease cutting properties work like a dream. The large chips remained mostly uneaten and went in the bin.  Add $12.00 odd to my expenditure.

By the time I arrived home 45 minutes later, I had a pain under my ribs and felt like nothing I want to describe here. I unpacked and washed and dried the clothes and easy job in plus 30-degree heat and packed a bag to take to the hospital in the morning.  I felt like a train wreck.  I had a raging headache and just wanted to sleep, probably stress but I know what I had eaten added to my discomfort.

I went to visit my Mum who is in care and I completed all the normal jobs watering the veggies, feeding the dogs and catching up with well-wishers texts and messages.  Eventually, I gave in and took some Gaviscon for indigestion. and headed for bed.

I had a shocking night, fought with the sheet, the bed, the pillows, fan on, fan off and my indigestion. When I slept I had horrible, vivid dreams.  Outcomes no more Macca’s five minutes of enjoyment is not worth hours of yuk!  I woke this morning and my mouth feels like the bottom of a chook shed. You could say I learned my lesson.

At least I now know the effect of eating Maccas and won’t be doing that again in a hurry.  I have felt much better and certainly can notice the effects of a healthier diet without red meat or processed meats and preservatives.

I will check back in – in another eight weeks to see how things have progressed. I would like to try and decrease the amount of sugar I eat and it is not lollies or chocolates as I do not have a sweet tooth it is added sugar in foods that we do not even notice.

Going back to Uni will be a challenge as fast food is the go there, quick and easy. I  will have to take my meal but that means dragging a lunch bag with you as lockers are in very short demand.  Thought…It would be good if the brasserie had a student fridge and you could put your lunch in there to keep it cold.  They have microwaves on campus for student use so why not a big fridge.. hmmm.

See you all in eight weeks. stay safe and eat well

Folding Mini book

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I am always looking for great ideas to deal with some of the stuff you accumulate capture2

and this idea really sparked my interest.  I have a collection of photographs and around 1000 postcards.  I may indulge.

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Thank you to  Flow magazine for the link    http://www.flowmagazine.com/stuff-we-like-to-make/folding-mini-book.html

anastasia

An Incredible Movie ~ A FRAGILE STORM

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A Fragile Storm

My sincere thanks to all involved with making this movie and to the actors for brilliant and sensitive portrayals of the characters. 

My niece has shared this movie and it is possibly the most disturbing movie I have seen in a long time.  It runs for approx 9 minutes and speaks to the anguish of a relationship interrupted by Dementia. That demon in the cupboard. The elephant in the room.  The movie is confronting and informative. One of the executive producers has Alzheimers. It will upset viewers and others will understand it totally.

I was in tears from the first seconds.

I have put a warning that the movie is controversial and it will question your understanding of dementia based illnesses.

Regular readers of my blog know that my father died two years ago this month as a result of having Lewy Body Dementia and my mother has Dementia Nos associated with COPD and Emphysema and is in a care facility.  My niece is attempting to raise two children as a single mum, and care for her mother now diagnosed with Alzheimers.

What is the one thing our loved ones ask of us in the early stages of these dementia based illnesses?  Almost universally it is –  “Please do not put me in a “home”.  My thoughts on my niece’s comments about making promises and guilt at not being able to keep them.

These are my thoughts drawn from my own experiences as a caregiver on my niece’s comments about making promises and guilt at not being able to keep them.

We all make the promises with the best intent and then when we are unable to keep them due to circumstances outside of our control we do feel guilt. These dementia based diseases are all about guilt.

We are never ready for the changes and often do not see them as they are subtle and can fluctuate from hour to hour day to day. That is one of the things that is emotionally exhausting about dealing with these issues.

We second guess ourselves all the time;

“What could I have done better or differently?

Why did I lose my temper? I should know better? Intellectually I understand but my heart does not. Why? Why has this happened? Why/ how did I not recognise the signs earlier?  Why isn’t there more help/research/understanding/funding? Why does this push the boundaries of my beliefs system? Why am I not more patient? Why are there days when I hate everyone including myself? ”

The best and most important thing for caregivers is to understand they are not responsible for the illness or the situation and to find time out and recharge.

Acceptance of the situation and finding tools and support systems to help is vital. It won’t change the progress of the disease but it may help you cope with those changes more effectively.

Recognise that as time progresses we may have to hand over the care of our loved ones to others. For health, mental and physical, safety and financial reasons. Heather would understand that better than anyone else. This movie shows the extremes and those extremes do happen – not with all but with many cases. These diseases have an impact not only on the person with the disease but their families and support systems and no one understands another’s journey. We may empathise but we do not understand the daily pressures. Build memories while you can, record conversations in writing and on tape or video and make scrapbooks these help as anchors in the darkest hours.

Take it one day at a time and always ensure you find space for yourself and activate your support systems when you need them.

When someone says what can I do to help suggest a couple of meals that can be frozen. Help with household and garden chores and come and visit or phone and talk. Do this because people with all good intent will make offers and then find the situation too confronting.

This is a club no one asked or wanted to become a member of – but here we are. Make beautiful memories and treasure them.

End of Care questionaire

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End of Care questionaire

If you had a condition that you could not recover from, what would be important to you, towards the end of your life?

Foremost to have control over my treatment, control over the manner of my death and to be able to put my affairs in order and say the things that should be said, write the letters that need to be written.

Are there any pets that you would like to see or be with you if this is possible?

Without a doubt, pets are so good for people. They add a sense of normalcy to the situation and provide comfort and unconditional love – they also help with depression and lower blood pressure.

Would you prefer a quiet environment or do you prefer activity and chatter around you?

I do not want to be in a hospital surrounded by medical equipment. I will make sure I have the  opportunity to choose and to have my favourite music and movies playing and friends around

Would you like music to be playing and if so, what style or what music?

My taste in music is very broad Irish folk, Bollywood, classical, opera Gilbert and Sullivan 1940-1980s. Again normalising the situation no sober or soft tones

Is there anyone particular you would like to see or talk to?   

My partner and my children and friends

Is there anything else you can think of that you would like?    

I have already planned my funeral and wake. A private cremation, no mourners then a celebration of my time in this life.  My ashes to be spread at the Sangha in Melbourne in the rose garden.

What is on your bucket list of things you would like to do or achieve before you die?

There are so many things I want to do write the great novel, be published, travel back to Tibet, Malaysia, Nepal, India, Bali, England, Germany. To meet His Holiness the Dalai Lama again, be closer to friends. To know my  kids and my grandkids understand how much I loved them and how I tried to provide a better world for them to live in

How did you feel during the process of completing this form? Was there anything about the process that interested or surprised you?    

Pleased I have done it. I was not surprised but interested to see I used the word normalisation. I don’t fear dying but I do fear the manner of my death.  Western society does not sit easily with discussions on death and dying.  It is part of the circle of life, it is but another great adventure.

We need to talk about death and dying and our wishes. As a provider of support for caregivers with terminally ill  relatives I so often hear the response “Oh we have never talked about it” or “I don’t know what they would want, it isn’t a subject we discussed”  or “We don’t have an Advanced Health Care  directive in place we didn’t want to upset them by talking about these things”  or “It’s morbid I don’t want to think about it” and then there is the classic “I’m too busy to to talk about it”

The above is my response to the questions posed in May 2016 to  Maggie Beer and her response presented by  Palliative Care Australia   http://palliativecare.org.au/palliative-matters/maggie-beer-is-dying-to-talk/#.WGmdRJTfgks.facebook

 

Optimism & Compassion -a way forward

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This is a new year and a fresh start… So why are some people so mired in misery they cannot look forward with optimism? Are they simply overwhelmed by what is on on social media and in the press?

1902905_10152714619619769_4440640801555438514_nWe all know things were bad in the past and that terrible, reprehensible things happened; not just last year or fifty years ago or the last century, but all the centuries before. We should remember the learnings and not repeat the mistakes. There were wonderful achievements as well, but these become buried.

It appears many believe everything published in the press or on social media – without checking their facts. We demand change but rarely offer a sustainable solution.
We look for what is wrong with the world rather than what is right. We have the ability to question government through legal protests and we have the power of the vote. If you want to complain about politicians superannuation first learn how the system works – same as it does for every other superannuate in Australia. Challenge what is wrong but don’t fixate on it.

See the joy in the world as well.

I don’t like double dipping, abuse of privileges, discrimination, the way we treat refugees and our treatment of our First Nation people. I am appalled at the mistreatment of vulnerable people and “disadvantaged groups” and those who don’t conform to so- called society norms.

There needs to be more personal, local, state and federal accountability and transparency, across all sections of the community. Profiteering by businesses and taxation reform would be a good start. We need to stop selling all our land, services, resources and businesses off shore. We need to ensure an equitable living wage to achieve these things. Do we expect too much as a society?

Often we are compared to older nations such as Denmark. Look at the age, the infrastructure built up over centuries, the population and size of Denmark and then look at the size and population of Australia, we are one of the biggest in physical area and youngest countries in terms of western development in the world.  There is your answer.
There is an obligation on each one of us to care for the environment, the sick, the frail, and the elderly. To do that we need taxes. The more people we need to care for the harder our taxes have to work.  We need to stop being NIMBY’s and accept special needs housing and mixed housing in our neighbourhood.

We need to lead by example and be that change that we want to see in others. We need to understand why things happen and stop knee jerk reactions. Don’t be fooled by the flim-flam man. Present reasoned sustainable solutions for consideration. Don’t expect others to change while you maintain your sense of privilege.

Use the power of social media effectively (not rail against every injustice that hits your news feed.) People stop reading your posts after a while and you burn out. Use petitions – use the voting box – use our democratic system – if you don’t like what the candidates represent then stand for election yourself at a local government, state or federal level.
Contrary to popular belief politicians are not special people, rightly or wrongly they have stood up because they have an opinion and want it heard. Our system may not be perfect, but it is a damned side better than most of the others out there. You do have the opportunity to make that change. The ball is in your court.