Saturday, September 29, 2007

Writer's rooms.

Found this on Snags new blog site

Writer's rooms - Ballard
Writers' rooms: JG Ballard

More writer's rooms
If you have a favourite writer, chances are you might find their writing room featured here...

Friday, September 28, 2007

Yesterday was a real Cold Chill sort of day for me.

Some background... those of you who have read my past posts are too well aware that I said I was working on a solid complaint against Royal north Shore Hospital (Sydney Australia) and its dreadful treatment of my husband Don which led to his death in mid May this year.

It has taken up a lot of my time and finally I produced the full complaint which consists of four parts and just over a hundred typewritten pages in all.

I have been so encouraged by my daughters Melissa and Alison and some of my sisters that I felt and knew myself like what I was doing was some sacred sort of "trust" if that makes sense.

So this has taken months. Don died mid May and it took a month or so to get the hospital records first. Then to put it all together was a nightmare.

I took our solicitor's good advice and chose to approach a local MP (from the opposition - always a good move... and arrange an appointment with him, present my folder of complaint, and ask him to forward folders to the other relevant bodies such as the health care Complaints Commission, The NSW Medical Registration Board and the Ombudsman.

I was fully expecting that my work would just go onto dusty shelves for the obligatory six months and that I would have to be continually pushing them along till they grew sick of me... or till I grew sick.

I got no answer from the MP and rang his office again on Monday to say "Hulloooo".

As it happened there was an amazing conjunction of circumstances and I am walking about the house smiling happy for the first time in ages... and don't any of you tell me out there that there isn't something going on around us we are too dim to understand.

Royal North Shore Hospital has suddenly hit the headlines this week after a series of pregnant women revealed they were left holding miscarriages (fetuses) in their hands in the toilets after being ignored... Doctors had to dig one out of the waste paper bin after the woman was told to use toilet paper to clean it and herself toilet paper in the women's so she was told to get it from the men's...ain't life just so sacred?

So the State Gov was forced to react (they never act) and called for an Inquiry but only into Pregnant women and Accident and Emergency.

The Opposition demanded a total and open Inquiry into all complaints... so the pieces started to draw together...

Finally I got to the end of printing five copies , 100 pages each...on Tuesday evening I thought "what to do with all of this?".
On Wednesday I brought home five plastic ring binders and boxes of plastic sleeves for the pages. I sat in the floor from midday till midnight collating it all together into five presentable packages..thinking that as most "skim" read these days if I made it as easy and as readable as possible it would work in our interest.

At 9.30 am on Wednesday morning I got a phone call from the MP's office in Sydney six hours drive from here. "Can you get on the lunchtime flight and be at parliament house by 2pm we'll arrange the flights and pick you up at the airport?" Could I what...?

I had been out in the yard weed pulling etc and had about 2 hrs to get ready...The last photo for the folder insert was printing as I got dressed and off up and away...

We made it with just minutes to spare before Question was uncanny.

Sight unseen this MP had trusted that my complaint was a solid one and based his Question Time in Parliament on it...demanding a general Inquiry on all complaints about RNSH and siting Don's name and my complaint. Melissa had met me at Parliament house and was as gobsmacked as I as to the timing.

One day before and I would not have been able to present my folders.

Melissa and I and Andrew Stoner the MP were asked to do a press Conference and I had plenty of time to relay some of what happened to Don... reporters are so bloody young these days. A radio interview and a little time on tele...not much but enough.

Don and I have fought with many of the MP's on both sides over various issues. We are not popular. The Labor Health Minister Rheba Meagher "Condoled" me for my loss and then say "no Inquiry go to the established bodies", with all the syrup and schlop some of these politically correct female pollies seem to smear all over everything they do... she is a bitch, but I can be a worse and more experienced (ie older) bitch.

When we left Parliament House Melissa decided to take a short cut through an old cobblestone thoroughfare... hoping it would save us going round the block...we walked past this brick wall and on it about waist (for those who have them) height was the name of some business which had disappeared ages before....most of the letters of the name had fallen off the bricks... there were 3 letters left... any takers?


Melissa took a photo of me standing near this... she said "this is just too bizarre". I will post it when she sends it.

We spoke to Radio later, on our way to the airport... down and back (poor bloody dog was locked in the house with multiple bowls of water and much food... which he didn't touch.... I was gone for 10 hours and he lasted the distance...I defy us humans to have those good manners)

I got back at about 9pm and thought "What the hell happened? There was my wet towel and all of that stuff... and I laughed and laughed.

They can't bloody ignore our complaint now its too bloody public and I am still amazed at how all the jigsaw pieces fitted together with such synchronicity. Melissa and I kept getting the cold chills... all I could think was that i had this image of Don a smilin' away at their embarrassment and discomfort...he loved this stuff it was the bread of life for him to call the bastards to account and he could be as cunning as a shithouse rat when he worked it out.

Sorry non believers but this had too much of the touch of him to be coincidental... and I may seem foolish but I haven't stopped chuckling today which is such a nice change.

Sometimes...not often enough good things do happen for good people.

Just click on the right hand side where it says Video... we are right at the end... there was more but I missed it because I was travelling home. Might only interest Aussies but hospital systems are the same in the western world

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Some home thoughts.
Sometimes ... like today the house and yard about is just so beautiful I feel that I am "protected" by the beauty. Then I think about something or see a photo or imagine...and i just howl with grief. For me it is still unbelievable...

we really were together 24/7 as they say so glibly. He was just so vulnerable to cruelties and there was so much... too much cruelty. My job was to protect him from the worst...

I just cannot understand how people can be cruel... when most of us have so much...

if you can walk...

feel the sand under your feet, the grass in the evening cool between your toes, go to the toilet both ways normally, breathe freely, etc etc...

with just this we are okay...I learnt soon that this was enough. Enough was good.
(Melissa - Alison and their dad)
I have so much trouble even beginning to consider forgiving even family for the cruelties Don suffered because not of their ignorance... but because they just did not consider...

everything was a struggle for Don as with all high level quadriplegic wheelchair bound people...there but for the grace of God go I...all of us need to consider this...a stupid choice while driving; a stupid trip downstairs; whatever...and we are in this position ...

suddenly you become a "probleme" for correct society....

and if... only if you have good family about you or good real mates (very rare) will you be just a bit protected...just a bit...because there are many doctors and others in the medical profession who do not really believe you have a right to autonomy...

and they are the real bastards most of us have to deal with...

how smug we were here thinking we would be able to get through the "system"... a system which is moribund and has nothing at all to do with life and living.
The lovely Thorn.

My sister took this picture of the most handsome and loyal doggie Thorn while I was driving him out to his "respite" before my two weeks away. He was so happy when he got there...two female Kelpies both vying for his attention...two big chubie cats who don't run so he pushes them round the floor with his nose for ... Pleasure! And two of the nicest people on the planet to care for him on their 4 acres...

so Thorn was okay and all frisky when I got him back...he needs a friend doggie here so am looking out for a mate for him... I will know her when I find her... am very fond of kelpies.

Thorn had a rather good time whilst my sisters visited...the odd glass of bubblie...the odd snack of Camembert cheese... the odd pat and game...not a bad life for an olde doggie...but he deserves it...

Just back from spending a week each with Melissa and Alison. Unfortunately I was sick when I arrived and managed to give them both what I Typhoid Middle child. But they didn't get as sick as I was so that's a blessing...its like my bug diminished once it migrated from me...

I have just about finished all the typing needed to put my complaint in about Don's care (or lack of). Its been a massive job, and in a way good for me because I have cried through just about every sentence... for me it is not just is what happened...and still raw...and It didn't happen really to me... I was just a loving was Don who suffered because of their negligence.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Away from home.

This is only the second time I have come away from home for any time, since Don died in May. It is a bizarre feeling to come away from the house and land which seems to becoming more beautiful as winter ends.
I have never seen so many birds about the place and they seem to be happy to be close to the house ( I have been feeding them a bit.)

I'm spending a week with each daughter and then have decided that when I get back home maybe its time to get some structure back into my life, rather than just drift like I have been...although there is nothing wrong with drifting either.

After Melissa and Alison's birthdays (soon) there is then Melissa's wedding in early November and I have to function a bit better than I am to help her to celebrate what will be for her a wonderful day but also a hard day as the girls were so close to their dad.

Melissa is a real Virgo and quite used to having to do things for herself as we could only ever help at a distance, so she and Chris have organised the wedding... with minimal input from me...which is probably less complicated anyway...but stupidly I feel a loss about this ...maybe this feeling is natural and part of just being her mother.

I was always going to give a small talk after the wedding, and leaving the father of the bride bit up to Don because it meant so very much to him to let people know what Melissa is really like, something she is good at hiding. Like Don she is one of few people I have come across in life who doesn't complain and in this day and age that is becoming a rarity. We live in a culture of complaint.

So I am now father and mother of the bride and just have to hope I can do it without tears on what is for her a very happy day, but what we all know will be bitter sweet to those of us close to him.

I am close to completing the information needed to bring some action against the hospital and Doctor (s) who are responsible for Don's dreadful suffering and death... I have been working on this pretty much a bit every day...and just a bit to go. I am not going to use lawyers as there are other avenues to try first and I can make better use of my own money than to hand it over to people who charge $200 to write a letter.

I did speak to one by way of a reference point, so she could investigate other avenues which she did do for me, and she said, "that because he was so disabled, that I would be classed by the courts as being financially and emotionally better off because he was dead".

There you have it kids...and thats exactly the thoughts of most ignorant people... some of whom have suggested as much to me, even on the day of the funeral...ain't human nature just something or what? She was being helpful and I appreciated it, because lawyers are only, like many professionals these days and always I suppose , interested in the money earned at the end of the day.

I am a big girl and can deal with this sort of shit better than most because Don and I faced this too often in the past. We spent about a 4 year period in an out of court when one ex fake nurse tried to strip us of all we owned..., and there as legal aid for her but nothing for us at all because we owned our house... We both realised that at some vague time in the late 1980's after a few years of attitudes softening and becoming more reasonable towards attitudes towards disabled, during the late '90's and up till now there has been an increasing hardening of these attitudes, which in some way reflects the hardening of society.

We are all going backwards at a rate of knots culturally this way. There seems to be a harder edge, more subtle cruelty towards those just below us or who find themselves in trouble...even the girls have noticed this...that there was a freer attitude and people have become much more conservative and not in a good way...

I so much miss Don's amazing mimicry of these sorts of people. Our old VW van would just rock from side to side as he would sit behind me as we drove home and mimic whole conversations had with these sorts of people, getting them to a tee and adding his own drops of sarcasm...

People had no idea that the quiet bearded man, they assumed was one thing was another thing entirely... because they assumed. Just as the courts would assume they knew the value of Don's life to me because that value had nothing financial about it.

It was priceless.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

My sisters and I.
Its been lovely...lately...two of my four sisters have been visiting me and I have started to sleep... first for a couple of hours now a full night...something I had not been able to do.
Joanie is on the left, Veronica on the right and me in the middle... this was taken at Cassegrains Winery on Father's day where we toasted "Father's past" , Our father and Don.." Fathers present"...their children's fathers and "Fathers future" we can but hope...

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Scary Cat!

Brrrrrr! If cats freak the bejesus out of you read no further!

This is the cat my friend "minds".

It has been known to leap out at her from great heights from dressing tables, bookshelves, gutters and tall trees...all in the dark of the night whilst she is frantically searching for the senior cat of the estate which is geriatric and totally blind and which this sweet little kitty tries to murder at every opportunity...

This poore olde blind cat the senior cat... was carefully feeling its way own the stairs and the young turk was behind it giving it little pushes in the hope it would tumble down the stairs... how bad a cat is that? A murderer cat!

Rock climbing anyone?

Like your neck scratched? Feel like getting your eyes ripped out???
Sweet isn't it?