Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Outside this morning and taking photos of a kangaroo happily having breakie out near my macadamia tree - when all of a sudden a very friendly bird started talking to me (not in words) from the guttering of the house. It was very unafraid and then dropped to the fence and continued regaling me with something very amusing to it no doubt.

So I put the camera down after a while and sat on the outdoors lounge and to my surprise it came and sat beside me... a good few minutes - its one of a pair I have noticed around here and not very common - does anyone know what sort of parrot it is?

I seem to be getting visits from many friendly birds but this one was just amazing.

if you click on the photo of the kangaroo you can see it has a big mouthful of grass

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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Some beautiful memories

Unexpectedly found myself feeling really down today - can't believe that I will never in this life see my lovely man again...when I look at photos its as if he might start speaking again - The risk we take in loving well is that one will be left - and although the grief eases some days it comes back as fresh as if it happened the day before - today is one of those days.
The girls are now in their thirties so some of these are decades ago - it was such a different childhood for them but we had so much fun - things like family trips to the beach were pretty much out and especially in latter years Don was forced to spend a certain amount of time bedridden.
So birthday parties were often celebrated in the bedroom and it became our living room while Don was in bed. That way he and we never missed out on things others take for granted.
I am blessed with two amazing daughters who were able to shitstir their dad terribly - and he us but were also quietly extremely gentle and considerate of his needs. I can honestly say I never heard them complain when he needed personal things done or brought to him - although like most kids they complained about other work.

If Don was forced to spend time in bed in summer the kids would often get cool washers and help keep him cool - until finally so much time was spent there in the old house that we got the bedroom air conditioned.

For some of us lucky ones our whole adult life from 18 up will be spent with the one person on this planet we were meant to be with - we almost met six months before we did meet but, maybe we weren't ready - who knows - when we met it took us a whole three weeks before we moved in together and it felt like coming home - not to say there weren't some beauty arguments both of us being individuals and having strong views, But I think the saving grace was that we always slept together and at some time in the night time hours after a fight, one's hand would end up touching the other person and usually things mended that way.

He was such a man - strong and dependable but never boring - much more romantic than I was...if at sometimes a little grumpy - not much of a flaw when I consider what he had to put up with.

I would not wish him back to this earth to suffer the dreadful pain he was beginning to suffer before he was so brutalised medically.

Just sometimes - today - it just feels like more than I can bear, knowing I will not see him again in this life.

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Monday, November 22, 2010

Ohhh Ahhh!

I put quite some effort in getting ready to look respectable – hard for me –I had a function I wanted to be at and it was important that I looked credible as I was intending to hand a copy of my book to one of Australia’s top commentators – and if I made a good impression it might be that he would help me promote my book

So a special black dress and a special pair of – as the advertisement said “guaranteed to make you look 10lbs slimmer” shiny black underpants - you know, those ones that go right up high and down your legs so there are no ridges and bulges, and over that to top it all off even stockings – because the old legs are white and marked by life’s tracks and ways and not quite the ticket for such a gathering. If I wear stockings once in ten years its an event.

It was a fair walk to the bus which was to take us all the hour and half trip – then a fair walk to the event...so far nothing wrong. As I was being signed in at the front door I looked around at the large gathering of well over a hundred people who were already gathered, all eating nibbles and drinking plonk – all noting each new entrance – hailing those they knew and sizing up those they didn’t know.

I looked around to see if my target had arrived – he had in the past written many columns on medical issues and especially covered research being done on disable people – something not many had covered.

As I bent down to sign the book I felt some constriction just above my knees. What the? I ran my hands discretely down my leg to feel - horror of horrors my stockings had slid all the way down unnoticed over the ling shiny “guaranteed to make you look 10lbs slimmer” underpants and were hovering just ready to drop into full public vision.

Panic – not a good look on a middle aged woman – in younger years I might have just let them drop, hoiked them over my shoulders and laughed it off – inviting and daring others to laugh with and at me – but not now – the rules have changed and I did need to look worthy of the gathering.

I asked the woman at the table where were the toilets, and she pointed airily at the standing crowd of nibblers and drinkers, “You have to go right through them and on the other side is the toilet.” No way was I going to make it even if I dolly stepped holding one side up and looking like a crazy woman.

I leant in and told her I was about to drop my pantyhose right there and then and please help! I was not going to make it through the crowd which consisted of politicians, news people and some locals who I had locked swords with in the past and who would have loved to ensure my embarrassment would be duly and publicly noted.

She waved me to the nearby kitchen – which was close by. There was a man and woman in there but luckily the man left – explaining my situation to the highly amused woman she told me to go into the pantry which was at least private. I reefed the stockings way up and anchored them into the top of the underpants so they would at least hold till I could get to the toilet and fix the problem – the problem was the pants were so slippery that the stockings would not stay on them and every movement I made moved them down down down...they don’t tell you that in the add.

I crossed through the crowd saying hello to this one and that and maintaining my dignity made it to the only toilet. Once there off with my shoes, off with the stockings, off with the offending pants and back on with the stockings – because I had to wear them as I hadn’t shaved and we come from a hairy lot in our family.

I was aware I was occupying the only toilet and no doubt there would be a small line by the time I made myself look respectable again – I looked all flushed and messed up in the mirror and nothing like the image (false of course) I wanted to have.

I whacked the large “guaranteed to make you look 10lbs slimmer” undies in my small handbag, mentally reminding myself to be very careful when taking my purse out so as not to drag the pants out with them, as they took up most of the inside of the bag. I was acutely aware of them in my bag all night and of how uncomfortable are panty hose, but especially without underpants.

My eldest sister quipped when I told her “Hm! Quite ready for action!” but there is more than one reason for a lady such as I to carry her undies in her handbag – whilst out at night.

And yes I did give my book to the commentator and he held it under his arm for the rest of the night...even making sure its title could be seen when the official photos were taken – something I saw him do purposely.

Hopefully he will be in touch. Maybe I should have let the stockings drop so as to make me more memorable to him!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Local Gossip

At first I was shattered when I realised what was being said about me – then I got over that and got angry – hence this letter to our local paper – I had just spent another day on the street with my stand trying to advertise my book (needs must) was sick from flu and then to hear on more than one occasion what some were saying and thinking really rocked me..On that day my youngest rang I said to her, “I feel as if I don’t have any pride left” She said “Thats so not true mum – you are very proud and thats why you are doing this – we are all very proud of you.” All I needed, but am still amazed at the ignorance out there.

Dear Editor,
First I would like to thank Mr Andrew Stoner Member for Oxley and Leader of the NSW Nationals and Mrs Leslie Williams National Party Candidate for the Seat of Port Macquarie for their invaluable help in helping me launch my book “Without Due Care” – first in NSW Parliament house Sydney and second in the Hastings. Nothing was too much for them and I am grateful for this.

Second, I would like to address some untrue and hurtful rumours circulating locally about my “motives” in writing the story of my husband’s hospital treatment and subsequent death.

The insinuation that I wrote my book to make a lot of money is not only highly offensive it is a lie. I will never recover the financial outlay I chose to spend in the three and a half year fight for justice culminating in “Without Due Care”. I have given away more copies of the book than I have sold, so important do I consider the story it tells.

The thoughtless gossip that I am suing anybody, or will ever is a lie. In suing, once settlement is reached one must agree to a confidentiality clause meaning I would never be able to expose what was done to Don.

The suggestion that I wrote “Without Due Care” to make myself feel better as some sort of “psycho babble therapy” is ludicrous. Having to edit and re edit dozens of times was not therapy, considering the nature of what was written.

And lastly the cruel inference that my husband Don would not approve of my writing about his suffering shows lack of insight into his personality. His ethic was always to do the right thing because it was the right thing to do - something I have tried to live up to. I have total family support in what I have done.

What drives some people to such small minded and ill informed gossip? Thankfully they are a minority and I am grateful for the amazing support from my community. Those who assume they know the truth could read my book, available in the library and become informed rather than remain ignorant.
Yours sincerely

Friday, November 05, 2010

Some articles which have appeared - you will have to click on them to read them.
Sydney and Local Book Launches.
The two main launches are now over and now it is just the matter of getting out there and selling my book - a lot harder than I thought. I have a couple of "stands" but doing it that way is exhausting - and I don't handle a lot of people coming at me - I seem to lose energy...and return to the house a bit shaky and shattered. I am looking for a book distributor, and am going to put a website up. Also have approached some magazines myself for book reviews. Its just getting it known that the book exists which is hard. There have been some newspaper articles and I have an add planned for next week in the local free paper - but after that I just cannot afford to spend any more on it.

Andrew Stoner Member for Oxley and NSW Nationals Leader. he has supported me for three years when there was no one else so i asked him to launch the book.

Melissa giving her speech. It was so hard to watch my daughters do this, and she almost broke down, but she made it and I was so proud of her.

Alison giving her speech. I know my daughters are in their 30's but it amazed me and has amazed me to see that they are women in their own right and can speak so well out in front of people. We were all nervous but when i looked up almost without exception everyone in the room of about 40 was a friendly face.

John Hatton spoke - ex NSW Independent Member of parliament who forced through Parliament a Royal Commission into the NSW Police force which was so riddled with corruption that organised crime had almost a free hand in NSW in the 1990's

Left to right Lorraine Long founder of the Medical Error Action Group http://www.medicalerroraustralia.com , Therese Mackay author of “Without Due care” and resident of the Hastings and Eve Hillary author of Sarahs Last Wish http://www.sarahs-last-wish.com .
We all spoke and a DVD was made of the speeches. There was some very strong things said and am happy to post a copy to people should they wish to hear it in total..unsure if it will work in the US...but modern DVD players can usually cope with this...and all computers can/ Let me know if you want one.
Then we had the local one here. Leslie Williams, Melissa, Carmel (a good friend and myself spoke. It all went very well but was a huge amount of work as basically I put it together - not very good at asking for help. Luckily Melissa was able to help on the day as we hauled boxes of books etc around.

There was action by the Health Department people in Sydney who sent out to reporters a statement aimed at discrediting me - this statement did indeed frighten off most media. It was woorded in such a way that made it look as if I had been uncooperative and had written the book without trying to go through their channels - I did jump through all their hoops and dance to their tune for ages till worn out I realised their system is only set up to wear you out and down till you give up. I have now written back to their CEO (names removed) and am preparing a media release based on this letter and what I know.

"Dear ??? I was very disappointed at the reaction of your Health Service by way of its media statement around the time of the Sydney launch of my book Without Due care. (Please find attached)

Rather than an adversarial response, and in the interests of actually learning from what was done to Don and our family I would have at least expected for your people to at the very least address the multitude of areas of failure of the health system, not go to some length to just try to undermine my credibility. All your people had to offer in their attempt to discredit me was a perceived unwillingness to meet with your people. Not much in the way of doing me discredit considering the conversation M.D. , you and my family and myself actually had when we met in early April 2008. Not a one of us could recall what was said or what the meeting was all about. From our point of view it served no purpose at all as there was nothing on offer other than talking around and around and getting nowhere.

As well my unwillingness to go to Conciliation with the HCCC is understandable in the light that I believe that after Conciliation what is discussed is confidential. Please correct me if I am wrong but that is my understanding. I would not agree to confidentiality in any area concerning Don’s brutal treatment and unnecessary death.

Just to set the record straight, first of all I handed a copy of my Manuscript to Premier Rees when he visited Port Macquarie in about 2008/2009. Then last year when the health Minister Carmel Tebbutt visited PMBH I handed her a copy. These copies had all the doctors and hospitals’ names in it. The published version carries no such names unless in an official capacity such as the head of the HCCC and yourself and such.

There has been ample time for your people to address the issues I raised and point out where I was actually wrong. This was never done. No one has ever been able to point out to me one thing I have claimed which is not the truth, but too much effort has been spent in trying to cover up and put a spin on what really happened.

Apart from a brief acknowledgement from MS Tebbutt I heard nothing not a whisper.

There was an article about my book launch in 17/10/2010 the Sunday Telegraph and as is obvious the media statement was at first sent to the reporter after she requested a response to my book.

The same statement was also sent to Channel Ten who filmed the whole launch in which Andrew Mr. Andrew Stoner MP for Oxley and Leader of the NSW Nationals who has been a long time support, spoke and launched the book. John Hatton long time corruption fighter and former Independent in NSW Parliament spoke. As well Eve Hillary author of “Children of a Toxic harvest “ and most importantly “Sarahs Last Wish”. As well Lorraine Long - Founder of the Medical Error Action Group MEAG spoke. Along with my two daughters Melissa and Alison I addressed the gathering – it was harrowing for us all to say the least.

They then took us outside and interviewed us separately. They told my publicist that the item was confirmed for the evening news – then contacted the health department for comment. End of story. I will be talking with the reporter Evan Batten about this as he was certain about our story.

The same happened with the North Shore Times Interview - the reporter Kat Adamski reported to me that there was no guarantee that the story would go ahead and there was some legal issue.

I had an interview with Alan Jones and he was aware of this statement being circulated by the Health Service people – but luckily he did not allow your statement to stop the interview – and he did an excellent job.

Fortunately local media had no such concerns and freely ran the story of my book and its launch.

My answers to your attached document are as follows in red type:- Parts of this in bold type were written by my publicist as she spoke to me over the phone – she was driving from PM to Sydney for the Launch and I was also in the car heading into Sydney...so that explains why some is in the second person. (have not included this here at this time)

I don’t intend going away. It would better serve the people of NSW for the health Service to seek to expose the truth when shocking medical error happens rather than to seek to discredit those like me who are attempting to make some positive change. This should be the job of the Area health Service. I should feel that your people are on my side not just apologists for a very sick public health system."