When things create change in one’s life

Things on the farm have settled as the rains came, we have had 60 odd mils of glorious rain on our paddocks, and where there was sand and dirt we now have tinges of green, something we have not seen for a while now. The farmer is more settled and happier and the animals appear calmer, with rain comes cooler weather and animals prefer that. We have planted belts of native trees to grow and provide shade for them. We have water troughs that get checked daily and we are feeding out hay to supplement the lack of greenery in the paddocks.

With cooler temperatures comes cooler tempers, things that bother one in extreme heat don’t seem to do so in cooler weather. I have even hung washing on the line in rain as it cleanses everything even gives it a quick rain rinse. An old farming wives tail is to hang the heirloom family handed down by mother in law quilt on the line when it looks like rain so that it can continue. There is no heirloom quilt here – despite mother in law keeping everything, but I am happy to put sheets, towels, quilts & clothes on-line when it rains.

With the rain comes a sense of relief that one can see things change for the better, it may not seem like this to city dwellers as there isn’t the same need for rain except to fill rain water tanks and to water the gardens. lawns and parks. People in the city are not as greatly affected by heat and rain as country people. Most can get relief from heat and rain, here animals need checking more in extremes than ‘normal weather.’

Farming is very consuming and I am very conscious of the fact that I write about this more than anything else. We work together as a team and sometimes it’s difficult, I am not as capable as some men but I am better than most. I can drive all of the machinery on our property, I can lamb mark, cattle mark, muster, vaccinate, do the book work and also be lucky enough to have time for family and friends. It also can annoy me as it may not be what I want to do that day, in-fact I let the working dogs off this morning, many, Patsy & Mollie and they choose to come running to the back door than answer the farmers whistle, my sister said “don’t worry it’s Friday they are taking a mental health day.” So I gave them a bone and they were happy to be lying on the lawn chewing on them instead of tied to the back of the Ute in the sun.

I admire people who can live more remotely than us, have longer periods of drought and less rainfall than us. The mental strength of farmers and families is admirable, for me there is a small 3 hour drive to see family so I can justify going when I do leave, for those with longer drives it can be too much, not only financially (fuel costs, accommodation costs and time away from animals that need you) but can be visit limiting, making sure your time spent in the city is spent doing al the things you need to and catching up with very few.

My words today, enjoy the time you have, never take anything for granted and include all of those you want in you life the best way you know how, be that phone call, email, face book or twitter. There are so many more options to keep in contact these days than writing letters and waiting for a return. Make sure those you love, know you love them, make sure those you care about , are cared for and mostly be grateful for little things, simple things  such as rain, sunshine for we never know when this will change.

2014-09-12 01.13.04

Dogs on the Ute but not today, they are sleeping on the lawn.


Christmas Miracles

I have been in the privileged position during my time as an operating theatre nurse to assist in some people and families last wishes. One of these being organ donation, a special gift from unknown to an unknown and each time I have been involved it has been heart wrenching and raw. Each person is treated with respect, dignity and yes tears are shed by Doctors and nurses at this precious time. The loss of anyone’s life is awful.

We all know that in order to donate organs, one is dying and prepared to share their final wishes by keeping others alive and perhaps parts of themselves, a truly philanthropic gift. One which can never be returned nor the families are personally thanked. It is such an honor to be with that person assisting in their final wish.

It is hard at this time of year, as deaths occur more frequently than others and a lot also occur around the easter break, making for some the holidays a time of sadness and for others a time of celebration and happiness. We are in one of those times, a time of prayer, a time of waiting and a time to reflect on a person’s gift. We have a dear friend who is undergoing a transplant as I type.

It is a hard road for all families, those that do not wish to say their final goodbyes and those that wish to be with their loved one whilst under going surgery. There is no distinction here as to which is the easiest and which is the donor or receiver as this type of surgery is specialized, lengthy and outcomes may not be what one expects.

I wish for all organ donors long and healthy lives and organs and for those on waiting lists, the time is short and not too stressful. To the family who has kindly given organs to my  friend, may the angels hold you all in their hands as all of us who know the receiver will hold you in our hearts. Know that the precious gift you have given is being given to someone who is loved, loves life, lives it to the fullest, has people they love and will forever be grateful to your loved one.

Awkward conversations

Doesn’t life change quickly? I feel the older I am getting the quicker it’s passing. I have been dealing with people who as they are aging have not taken time or thought to plan for this process. I have had to engage in conversations that I wasn’t really prepared for nor were they invited by the recipients. But they have to be said, it has made me look at my life moving in the direction of getting older and starting to put things in place now.

There is so much for people to consider when they get into this time of their lives, living alone and being independent is great and thankfully we have services that enable people to be at home longer and more are in their own home. But I have been asked the question “the Dr says I can go home (from hospital) as soon as I am back being independent, what does that mean?” Not such a silly question if you have been unwell admitted to hospital having hurt a knee and then once over the acute stage find it difficult to walk unaided or unassisted. I explained by saying it is hard for Dr’s and nurses to let patients go home if they can not walk, can not shower without help or cook. “Well, I am a terrible cook, have a shower over the bath (70’s style) and I can’t walk, it’s a shit you know.” “yes it is, lets talk about getting you assessed for care then?”

This then leads into the nursing home talk, respite care, independent living opportunities and I do understand people want to die in their own homes so put things in place that enable you to do this. Ensure you have bathrooms big enough to get chairs in to sit on while bathing, or wheel chairs. Having been with another relative whilst they were being assessed in their own homes, bathrooms and toilets are the biggest obstacle next to front entrance steps or two stories homes that prevent people staying in their homes. The assessing people no longer advocate $30,000 bathroom renovations unless it’s done with forward selling in mind, this means that it is practical, usable and modern enough for people not to notice it was designed for wheel chairs and two people to come in and bathe the owner. They suggest putting false floors and ramps in shower cubicles to ‘cover the lip’ so the client does not trip, this can be removed after the clients leave.

Doing up a bathroom with a shower over the bath is not only a great idea but practical, but now we have to go down the track of determining if this is the right course of action or if it is time to sell the property and moved into an independent living unit, I am advocating for the later.  These are the conversations one has to have regardless of whether the recipient takes on anything you say or that they ignore you, they are must haves and they are exhausting. Once things get said then actions need to happen, so moving to this stage is also challenging.