Romeo Rejections, Dogs In Space & a Police Raid (23-29 November)

Monday 23/11/87

Woken at 8:00, I got to Mark’s and kept on writing the letter, even thru’ our trip (with Cameron) into town & KMart. [I explained what this letter was all about in the previous post but to recap I was trying to pen something (‘massive’ …like a novel) for him to read on his overseas family holiday.] Back at his place, I finished it – 11 pages (not bad considering the time I had)). At the airport, we waited, had a drink. Was kinda sad .. only 3 or 4 kisses (1 long-ish) before he left. Would’ve loved to go with them. [Was it even an option? I mean, apart from being unable to afford it, I don’t even remember being invited…] EUROPE! Imagine it?!!? Wow, I’m so tired. It’s after 12:30. I need sleep badly. Not really missing Mark – had fun without him tonite. [So you’re not as dependent as you thought you were?] A Life in WordsJo rang (well I rang her) at home & we went into town & walked around. I saw Stewart – I know he would’ve seen us- I avoided him …(god, I wish I hadn’t lost that friendship. I do like him more also, I know) Jo came to my place. Reddy [a deliberate misspelling] & went to hair show practise. At awards, Jeffry M actually talked to me, but was trying to con on to CB obviously. Found out thru mima – [privacy omission]‘s got a reputation at Saints and also a rumour that Mark got back with me before he went away so I’d remain faithful to him. Well, if I got a chance at the BIG TIME Stewart or PHILLIP) too bad, Marky!! [Beyond the obvious fickleness and superficiality, this comment bespeaks of indignation (if the rumour was true, how dare he?) and further, a desire for ‘justice’ – or retribution (if the rumour was true and if the opportunity arose, “….you’re history”…] After, went to Backpackers – but mainly SCANDALS. Chris H dropped me home.

Tuesday 24/11/87

Busy day! Rang Fi around 10:15 – (got up at 9:20, or so – long sleep I needed) She picked me up around 10:45, 11:00. We (Mima & Fi & I) went into town.. did nothing spectacular: put film in to be processed . . .  looked around Hilton shops. Went to Earlville for a little while, then (dropping off to get my togs) went to Crystal’s. Sunbaked (so hot!!) only a little while – the shade from trees came quickly. Leaving, NSW guys “dragged” us on Intake Road (oh! Fi let me drive to Crystals [good god, that was dangerous Fi!] -part the way -was good, but gear changes at beginning were – um – funny) […in other words, not great…] Saw David at Redlynch shop, Went to Esplanade Rang mum told her what I was doing (on answering machine). Went to indoor soccer. Cameron V.B’s nice (but Aaron K’s body – YUM!) Saw Cameron, then home by 7:30. Mum & Julia not -house unlocked, no note; I worried [about them] but they came saying Mr B died this morning (cancer) & they went to briefly see Mrs F .. stayed for tea (coffee). I Watched TV tonite. It’s 10:00- I need sleep for tomorrow night BIG nite out! (Hope Phillip’s there. Or Stuart or Cameron’ll (V.B.) do!) Gam On!! [Wow, I thought I’d long outgrown that word! “Gammon” was a term we inherited from Aboriginal & Islander kids at primary school and had a myriad of different meanings A Life in Words(as the Macquarie Dictionary – and Urban dictionary, see pic – confirms) but pretty much all connoting untruth or unreality… In this particular instance I’d’ve meant “As if!”] Mm! Sleep! Gonna get brown & skinny & blonde, I am!! everyone practically says “so are you missing Mark?” I hate to say yes, but feel like a bitch saying NO. [The agony of independance and pride versus compassion and potential judgement by others…]

A Life in Words
The advent of digital cameras (still a decade away at this point in time) erased the pain of ‘memories lost’ due to the sometimes problematic photography equipment on hand the 80’s.

Wednesday 25/11/87

SO HOT! Woke around 8:00…rang Jemima around 9:30 – said Fiona was spending the day with Jason & she wanted to stay home, so I prepared to spend a day at home alone, myself. I sunbaked briefly (& it went a bit red tonite, too!) Mum came home – I got dressed, we dropped Julia at school & I picked up photos- my 36 exp. [exposure] film was … totally BLANK. I was so mad with myself – all those great shots of Monday night, down the drain. [You youngsters will never know this pain; one of the best technological developments ever was the digital camera. It is however arguable whether that function added to mobile phones has been all positive…] SHIT. But the “last day of school” photos are excellent! […I must have put two separate cannisters of film in for processing?] I went to Sahara – tried on my bikinis and had 2nd thoughts- I look disgusting in 2 piece [We are our own worst critics, and I was. Yes okay, I still can be…] (I am so hot) Glyn, Chris & Cameron visited me at home: I was putting the photos in albums. Lazed afternoon away: phone calls to & from people Got ready; mima took me to Jude’s & her dad took us to town. We caught a taxi to the Hill & [privacy omission] only got asked for I.D. Inside there were quite a few but not too many people we knew. We weren’t really raging .. I had an explosion with Jude – didn’t do anything .. then I saw him (with Jemila talking) – (Jeff M & Phil N were there too) PHILLIP C! I went up & talked a little .. then we went & sat near his friends. I talked to Deanne & he went away→

Thursday 26/11/87

→ said ‘Bye’ and kind of held up his hand in a wave. Great! “He doesn’t like me” ..so I went and found Jude & Joannah & I complained. [It’s just wrong that you can’t have everything you want in Life, isn’t it?] But somehow, I found him again. (dancing!) and I stuck with him for the rest of the night! Talking (sitting) The best I got was a brief hold of his hand before a dance.. I tried but he wasn’t responding [oh this is painful!] (doesn’t he like me or doesn’t he know how to act?) [I’ve since learnt it’s pretty much always the former: it becomes pretty easy to discern whether or not someone is really “into you”…] Well outside (he was walking home to a friend’s place) he gave me one little kiss on the lips and said “just get in the car!” [And there it is…] So I did. A Life in WordsThis morning I woke at 10:30.. did nothing till I rang Jo. She came round & picked me up. At her place (I met Sara) we watched “DOGS IN SPACE” (a really poor recording) then went to her dad’s office – to make lots of phonecalls about Kelvin Grove interviews (& her folio) we waited till about 5:30 before Sara came then to Earlville : [privacy omission]! Then out to pick up Mrs C. [privacy omission] had the biggest row in the car .. at Smithfield, Saw Stewart. I didn’t speak .. we were late back to the car ..another fight! At Jo’s place- another fight! [Privacy omission] made dinner, but dropped the dish as she was carrying it out to the table – really upset her. Played cards after a (make-shift) dinner: then fell asleep on the

Friday 27/11/87

→horrible, hard loungeroom floor. Woke so much during the night. Jemima rang & invited Jo (she didn’t know I was there) to her place for a swim (with Cameron, Chris, Glyn, Brent & Fi) then lots of phone calls – one from Stewart. I only talked for 2 mins. I think.. “if I see you out, I see you out”. “Definitely” he said. So I wasted much of the morning playing patience [aka the card game Solitaire. My mum had always called it Patience…] while Jo was in the phone. then Fi came & picked me up after 11:00-11:30 sometime. Watched end of GOLDEN CHILD then Chris, Cam, Glyn, Fi, Mim & I went to Crystals. was really nice – I got burnt – but not so bad it’ll peel… Chris had to leave early for a driving lesson: Cam, mima & I waited for Fi & Glyn’s return (the bitches went to KFC) [!! LOL] at Mima’s Glyn had to leave – but we sat in the pool “playing games”. Then they dropped me home first. I rang Sharon, then Jo. Fi rang said she’d find us in town. Sharon got to my place (I was freaking out about what to wear.) [That used to happen regularly] In town – boring – we went to watch the HILTON OPENING FIREWORKS. Lotsa tonnesa people there!A Life in Words Met Cam & Chris .. we all went to KFC for tea. Then picked up Glyn (dropping off Cameron) At HOTH, [security] were really strict [about identification] (let us sign the book) […this basically being a registry of club patrons’ (who failed to produce satisfactory identification) personal details – Statutory Declarations – which the venue could use to absolve itself of responsibility in the event of a subsequent legal matter.] got a stamp. Rumours that→

Saturday 28/11/87

←there was gonna be a raid . . . boring to start with (I saw that Darren S guy) [a drunken pash candidate from a few weeks back] Finally “upstairs” opened: still no people. Around 12:00, Sharon & I sat with these older guys she knew, and there came the Police. [Two or three uniformed, if I recall correctly] I was a little nervous, but it was fine. Sharon nicked off after that & I got pissed off [with her]. Stewart was there. I stood with him and Smithfield mob – Shane L, Matthew, Axel & his friend Phil, when the Pigs came back in – Sharon virtually “ran” away. I stayed put & they didn’t give me a second glance. Eventually I talked to Stewart (after dancing with Shane) and he couldn’t give a reply. . told him all I felt (in brief – I wasn’t even the slightest bit drunk) [oh dear, really?] and he said he could still fall in love with me, […Liss, if it hasn’t happened by now…] but basically (I made him tell me before he left) [hey, everyone needs closure right?] he chose not to. Just be good friends, really good friends. [Oh E, it’s been obvious for SO long…] So Sharon (got with Steve from the Intern. Hostel.(!!)) & I got a lift home. I woke around 10:00 to a phone call from her. my throat so sore. Jo rang & I had a penecillan. A Life in Words[Yeah, no worries …just randomly pop an antibiotic pill whenever you feel like it. I don’t remember Mum having such a diverse collection of pharma at home.] Bludged the rest of the day: Mike came over in the afternoon – left & came back for dinner. Mima & everyone picked me up just after 8:00. Went (picked up Peter & Colleen) to Esplanade (saw Sharon very briefly & were bible-bashed!!) Party was MASSIVE .. so many people! We went & got VODKA Colleen & I  & I had orange .. Having an excellent time (I’d rung Phillip twice before – he was at the party) & I found out Phillip likes Kate H [I’d gotten the surname wrong…]

Sunday 29/11/87

→the guy (whose place he stayed at Wed. nite) sister. (Gr 10, or so). We talked, anyway (shortly) The party ended at 10:50. cause someone vomitted upstairs. So angry! It was such an excellent party.. so we went in search of irene St one ..Jason P told me Mark R likes me. Ha! [Ironic because I’d had a crush on him a few years back…] I was pretty drunk. Funny- I said “he doesn’t remember me” ..he said “well he dragged me round trying to point you out….” la-de-da! So that party was rather dead, too.. then I fell asleep in Fi’s car on the way home (stopped at 24Hr Serv. Stn). Woke late, round 10:00 this morning & bludged the day, till just after 2:00 (after phone calls to Jo…) I waxed my armpits, then mum drove me to Palm Cove.. Jo shut the shop for 5 mins – we got an ice-cream & went to see the surf-carnival, [knowing there’d be some hot bods there… and some of particular interest…] but discovered on the way it was over (heard the loudspeaker presentations) at shop again – waited outside ..saw Fi, mima, Sue, brent & talked ages to Crabbie. Phillip apparently went past in the McM’s car. At home, rushed ate tea & mima & fi & I went to Drive In. A Life in WordsPolice Academy IV made me sick.. the idea’s wearing very thin. The LOST BOYS was excellent (unbeknown to us, beforehand, it was a horror movie about vampires) […well I wouldn’t really class it as a horror film now…] Scared us shitless! But was excellent (my door slammed shut for no reason & we packed it!) [“Packing it” refers to fright. It seems to be a lesser known slang phrase we used since I can’t find the exact context for it, even in the Urban Dictionary. I guess it may correlate to pooping (packing) your pants with fear..?] I stayed mima’s (Fi, her & me talked about old times for ages, then Fi took Brent home.)

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A Bleeding Mole, a Prudent Prescription & the Show (13-19 July)

Monday 13/7/87

Ugh! I hate school. It’s so boring & ….. boring!! Rebecca G’s back in Cairns – at school. But that doesn’t really bother me – she doesn’t talk anyway (to me) We’re back in F block for maths. Wowee. How boring. Mark came late, but smiled at me when I saw him. A Life in WordsWe barely talked at all (end of recess, in biol & after school). Most of it was stirring anyway. On the way home we honked the horn & I gave him the forks – he rang me tonight & everything seemed much better (even though we were still joking around). I think he got off his “high horse” (maybe?) – realised what he was doing. Anyway was really cool today & is cool tonite. Spent the lunch hour on the oval in the sun. There’s a mole on stomach- bleeding. [Well aren’t these back-to-back sentences pretty much ‘oxymoronic’? The sun + bleeding moles = ?!?!] Worrying me a bit. [Really?] Hope its not cancerous. [In all fairness, the lunchtime sun-soak wouldn’t’ve registered to me at all because we didn’t know back then that skin cancers (esp. melanoma) can ‘originate’ in places never seen by the sun…] Talked to mum tonight about the pill – she’s not really impressed, but she knows its for the best [What mama is ever truly happy about her girl reaching this rite-of-passage? (I don’t even have to mention Dads!) I imagine it’s more just a sign of her baby growing up too fast…] Watching mini series again tonight. Finished 11:30 last nite. Same tonite???

Tuesday 14/7/87

10:30 it finished last night & 10:30 again tonite. Gosh it’s cool! Beautiful weather Just right. I’d love summers like this – imagine, then, the winters! [Hmmm, my attitude towards the seasons has pretty much reversed over the years…] Today was O.K. seemed to go rather fast. Rang Mark tonight, briefly.A Life in Words I went to see Mrs E this afternoon – for a dress fitting – she’s only just begun the lining! Hope it gets finished! Then I went to the doctor to see about this bleeding mole- he said it’s “malignant” (whatever that means) [“not good”] & he ripped it off. [..which I find confusing. If it was truly malignant, there should have been further testing. If I had misunderstood the doctor, and he was simply intimating that it may become malignant – removal without follow up could be expected. But if there was minimal chance of it being a threat (and I have realised many ‘mole-morphing’ experiences over the years) the removal may have been some sadistic power-play?!!] Now I’ve got a kind of scab. I also asked (shame!) [shame because it’s an ‘admission’!] about the pill – he wrote a prescription out, but said to start first pack after next period; even then, must wait until I’ve finished that pack (of approx. 21 or 28 pills) before it becomes effective.A Life in Words So it’ll be a while yet. Did barely any homework. am so tired. Riding tomorrow 1st dance practise tomorrow night but Mark doesn’t want to go: State of Origin III match is on. mini-series ended tonite – was fantastic!!! Busy day tomorrow (I think!) SHOW!!! [Oh how I loved the Show back then. I think it stemmed from my social nature: as a younger teen it was the most ‘popular’ event I could ever attend… I used to get excited wondering how many people I would run into in the crowd of strangers…]

Wednesday 15/7/87

All these late nights!! It’s almost 11:00 now. Today was O.K. I thought I’d missed mima & fiona, but they were just a little late. Dad stopped us around Suicide Bend [a severe curve in the road between Stratford and Aeroglen at which a number of historic fatalities occurred. The road is now known as the Stratford Connection Road but we certainly didn’t know it by that name back in the 80’s …I just can’t remember what it was: Aeroglen Drive or Kamerunga Road? …Anyone?] and, get this, gave me $40 (for Jules & I for the show) can you believe it? We didn’t even have to ask! Wow!! A Life in Words[As often happens with split homes, one parent ends up dishing out more money than the other in the rearing of offspring. I think it’s unavoidable even in the most amicable of relationships disintegrations. Living with mum meant she bore the financial brunt of our upbringing. Rather than Dad being a conscious miser, I believe things simply just ‘didn’t occur’ to him. It fits with the adage “out of sight, out of mind”.] Did biol. HW at school. Got on really well with mark today- I mean we didn’t talk too much more than usual, but we were in better spirits (I think) – he seemed much nicer; a little more affectionate (although he wasn’t) [what the?! …he was but he wasn’t?] Don’t worry – I can’t explain. [obviously] At lunchtime (after) Mima, Fi, Polly, Anna, Joannah, Myuko & I went to Fi’s shop to miss athletics tryouts. Talked, laughed ate. After 3:00, got our bikes & (after mima’s dress fitting) rode home really fast! (Pushing my leg to its limit! Ha, ha) Late nite was v. unsuccessful – nothing at all, I really like. At home watched TV & got bag from mima’s. OW! Bit my gum this arvy – its sore now. my stomach mole’s O.K now. Mum’s pushing me about the pill “Are you sure about Mark? I want you to be absolutely sure about him…” etc [Well, this is truly an eye-opener for me. Aside from mum’s innate parental concern for her daughter, this is the first moment I have realised that she perhaps didn’t overly approve of my boyfriend. In her defense, it would have been crystal clear how affected I was by him; my moods and reactions relative to the relationship highs and lows. I mean, if I as an adult now cringe at what I allowed myself to experience, I can imagine how it could have felt for my loving mother to watch…] Had to pay for painting stretcher today (out of my $20 for the show – now I have only $14 left. Great)

Thursday 16/7/87A Life in Words

Great day! I’m in a really good mood! Only one problem – Fi’s sick .. but if she rests tomorrow all day she should be O.K (I hope so) for it. School was boring, of course .. the Canadian marching band did a display this morning after parade, so that shortened our lessons. (It was really good!) I rode by myself. to school (wondering at the time why I possibly did) but on the way home I enjoyed it. We got ready, took Amanda & Jules to the show then went to Earlville. I was almost giving up hope when, wait for it, we went in to ROCKMANS & I found some black pants!! WOW! Then I purchased” a red shaker-knit cotton jumper (men’s) so I was in a good mood – watched the model search thingy (with mima, Pol, anna, danae, colleen, juliet, nina …so on) _both heats (Tricia was in the last one – my God – I would never dream of doing that if I was her (if I was me, anyway!)) [Such high and rigid expectations of Beauty thanks to the Media and my own low Self Esteem..] VOMIT! [Harsh reactions again hint at Insecurity… and perhaps Jealousy: that she had the self confidence/esteem/love to have a go in the first place. We often attack or lash out when coming from a place of Fear…] went home with Brewers .. mima & I decided to ride to the beach tomorrow morning – At home I rang Mark straight away – but I’m going to ring again tomorrow. Still not sure exactly what the plans are for tomorrow (night) – after the show, too (the [House on the] Hill, [that is, Crocodile Rock nightclub] staying at Fi’s.) Hafta work it all out.

Friday 17/7/87

Didn’t ride to the beach-mima had to stay to meet her granny. I “wasted” the morning – watching TV, weaving (for art).  A Life in WordsDid a little exercise→ rode to the shop for mum. Rang mima & fi & got “plans” sorted out; got ready around 3:30→ went to Fi’s at 4:20 – finished getting ready, before walking to mima’s. Picked up Jo & Geoff. M too . . got there around 5:45 – got to the Big Ferris wheel [the ‘meeting point’] around 6:03, I reckon. Mark showed up at 6:15- had been waiting at the little Ferris wheel. But, he went again to the pub. Met him at 7:00 – he was teasing me about Phil C (was there with P. N. & some others) YUM, YUM. I did end up talking to him, too; he has changed- is much, much less shy than last year. I think he’d be a really cool friend to have. I went on 1 ride spent a record minimum (less than $5 I’m sure) this year. Mark was away most the time – at the end I felt I was being ignored/avoided. IT HURTS so much. Around 11:30 went to the Hill. I got in no sweat (no questions . nothing!! WOWEE) Was good, except was hot & smoky inside. But I wasn’t exactly happy. I felt, especially towards the end, very unloved, boring, sad, lonely, depressed & a bit pissed off. […anything else?…] Why does Mark treat me the way he does? God it hurts so much. [No…why do you put up with the ‘treatment’? You have a choice. It’s nothing to do with him …but everything to do with You…] But I can’t say anything- he’ll only confirm his beliefs that I’m a weak, boring sook. (whinger, complainer) Pretty well bombed at Fi’s, around 3:30. Cold!!! left around 8:30 – Fi’d already gone to work, mima home. Jo & I cleaned up, then walked to bus stop sat until she caught bus to Redlynch – I walked home. Spent the day lying, resting, reading thinking= being depressed. [Allowing the Mind to replay the Past, re-tell its Stories to keep you Down…] “Well I’ll see you when I see you” he said. Jesus that hurt. Maybe I’m just going through an extremely sensitive period or something but I can’t help it; A Life in WordsI’m feeling down today & I can’t change it. [You can. But sometimes you’re not meant to…] Had a short sleep (about 1-1½hrs) after 3:00→ rang Fi & Sharon after (both weren’t home) Mark rang me. I felt a little better (he made the effort to ring me, after all) & we decided to go to the movies (he didn’t want to go to the party) Got calls from Beka & Sharon after. Got to odeon just before him. Lethal Weapon again. He appeared very quiet – uncomfortable (moody) but relaxed a bit after. (We walked around→ to Pacific & had a cocktail – Pink Blonde YUMMY) Left odeon after ringing mum (him→Sandra) & getting himself a steakburger .. I was a little pissed off again. . . .→

Sunday 19/7/87

→ no kiss again→ I knew it – it had to do with what I’d said last  Saturday night – about never kissing him again. I’d said to forget it & he said he did, but no→ he has to carry it on – that’s what upsets me the way he carries things on, for days, weeks. I hate it – it hurts. It makes me afraid to say anything to him now in case he carries it on. [And this is a perfect example of how fears develop into life-long instinctive reactions or habits. “Avoid Confrontation at all costs, Liss” the Mind says…] So he laughed as we drove away. At home I watched TV, right up untill 1:15 or so. I bombed and woke this morning at about 9:30→ really dead! (Mum painting the entrance room) Amanda left around 11:00 (she stayed last night) God, it depresses me to think about Mark→why does he do it? Deliberately to provoke me; make me sulk. [Maybe? Maybe trying to push you away? Or maybe he has no intention at all. The thing is, you can never really know …which means it’s beyond your Control …which means ya gotta… Let. It. Go.] I can’t stand it. formal dancingAfter wasting the day (totally) Beka picked me up: at dance practise I got a very mixed feeling about him. He seemed O.K. (nice) now & then – but sometimes he was very “stiff” as if he wished he didn’t go. Kept calling me a Sook. I can see he doesn’t like me (being a “Sook”) But I can’t convince him when I’m not sulking. DON’T HURT ME ANYMORE. PLEASE forget all this shit. After it I had a terribly sore throat – hard to swallow, yawn & speak. God it’s killing me. Mark wouldn’t believe me when I told him it was sore – just said “sook

The Anniversary of the Fall

A Life in Words
Mum enjoying a spot of sun in my courtyard, just 4 days before her fall

I know it was “meant to be”. And I couldn’t’ve prevented it because Mum was stubborn. It had happened before – a few times at home according to my sister – so was bound to happen again.

She wouldn’t ask for help. She wouldn’t wake her darling daughter, disrupt her sleep, just to go to the bathroom. That’s the kind of mother she was. Apart from being stubbornly ‘capable’ of finding her way to the toilet in the dark, under the influence of incredibly powerful painkillers and with numb feet thanks to the chemotherapy, she loved me way too much to break my much-needed slumber. You never wake up your babies (unless you absolutely have to).

It was a decent distance she had to travel between the bathroom and the couch she preferred as a bed. I’d realised as soon as she arrived that she would never make the flight of stairs to the bedrooms on a daily – or nightly – basis and also couldn’t get up from a mattress on the floor, so we made my generous three-seater her ‘station’. I slept on the mattress on the floor not 4 metres from her, for the sole purpose of being there for any help she needed during the night.

So all I heard was an almighty crash and a feeble wail. More like a pained, guttural exclamation. “Oh, oh, ohhhhhh”

“Mum? MUM?”

Panic & adrenaline flooded me in an instant, as I leapt up and I don’t even remember getting to the bathroom but I will never lose the mental image of her laying contorted in the shower recess.

She had almost made it to the toilet but lost her balance at the final moment, reaching out to her left for a wall, where there was none, and fell straight into the shower recess, over the ledge, smashing her head against the shower wall on the way down.

She lay in a contorted position, half foetal, sort of twitching in the struggle to get up and the moaning…. there were no words.

I can’t recall how I got her up, it wasn’t easy. I was trying to remain composed, but my panic momentarily exposed itself in the guise of a few whimpers and split-seconds of inaction driven by feelings of helplessness and overwhelm.

“Mum, oh mum”

She had soiled herself, naturally. She was after all trying to get to the bathroom for a reason.

Somehow, I did what had to be done. I don’t recall how, but I got her onto the toilet although she barely had the strength to sit up. She flopped forward, until I managed to get her to lean back against the toilet cistern. I cannot remember how I got her cleaned up and clothed in fresh garments but she recovered enough to answer my questions.

“Do you feel any pain?”

“No”

“Nowhere? How about your head?” There was an obvious egg by now.

“No”

This is what concerned, confused and later amazed me. She felt NO pain?

Getting her back to the couch wasn’t easy. I virtually had to carry her, although she must have regained an ounce of strength because I certainly didn’t get her there all on my own. Positioning her more upright, I fetched an icepack to put under her head, then set to work cleaning up the bathroom.

There was no return to slumber for me. Her breathing was laboured but I was more concerned about her head. That was, after all, exactly where some of her numerous tumours resided. I lay listening to her strange ‘snoring’ occasionally sitting up to look at her properly, for closer analysis. I was literally biding time until the clock struck a ‘decent’ hour at which I could ring my sister for advice. 6am. Mum was still sleeping while I spoke to Julia.

We decided it would be best to phone the Nurses Hotline.

There was no blood, she didn’t seem concussed (she knew where she was, who she was, who I was and what had happened) and again, amazingly, no pain. With the details of the (advanced) state of her cancer, and the fall, the nurse advised it might be best to try to get her to a hospital Outpatients. “Not a Medical Centre, but a hospital. Just to be on the safe side. The painkiller may be masking something that she’s not feeling so if you’re already at the hospital, they can act immediately.”

“I don’t think I can get her into the car, I barely got her back to the ‘bed’.”

Ambulance. So I dialled 000 and repeated the story, gave the same background information and answered roughly the same series of questions that the nurse had asked.

They arrived quietly. No siren needed. And in true Ambo form, they handled the situation beautifully, with calm, assured, professionalism and the perfect degree of humour. The story was related for the third time, and while they negotiated her into the ambulance, I collected some things I thought she might need, and was ready to follow them as they pulled away.A Life in Words

By the time we reached the Tweed Hospital, an ambo had administered oxygen to mum, making light of it. But this became the bigger issue. The young English doctor who finally examined mum was very nice but she was over waiting. She rolled her eyes at me when she thought he wasn’t looking. She had extra waits for tests to be run – XRays or CT scans I can’t recall which, but in the end, it was mum’s lungs he was concerned about: nothing to do with the actual fall.

We pretty much expected she would be kept in for observation at least one night. As long as she and I could catch our flight back to Cairns on the 22nd, it didn’t matter.

They found she had emboli (blood clots) on her lungs. Apparently this is a common occurrence with chemotherapy. I wasn’t sure what this meant. They were going to administer anticoagulant drugs to break up the emboli so there was still a chance we could get on our flight…after all, we had nine days?

It wasn’t to be. The emboli slowly disintegrated but it was the tumours that were wreaking the havoc ultimately. So when mum entered Tweed Hospital the morning of 13 December 2012, it would be her final place of residence; the locale of her final christmas and grandson’s 13th birthday. She departed just five days later.

 

Happy Birthday Mum

mummy koalaIt’s painful looking at this picture. It physically hurts. To think this beautiful little girl should have been turnings 69 years of age today, but she never made it. The big C, the very same disease that is taking so many other lives, ended hers just months after her 68th birthday. I’d never imagined, never dreamed that she would’ve left this world that early. She wasn’t a party girl, at all. She lived as cleanly as any other, with whatever health information is available out there to the Average Joe.
So what hurts is knowing that that little body ended up so inflamed that its immune system couldn’t win the fight. Granted, it wouldn’t’ve helped having an autoimmune disease (rheumatoid arthritis). I suppose she was already “on the back foot”, so to speak.
It hurts but it’s also frightening. Just how toxic is this modern world? Mum was born in 1944. Where in the years between then and now did this happen? Cancer has always existed but it seems to me that its prevalence may have been kept in check because our environment (both internal and external) was never as toxic as it has become in the past century.

Mum had been a smoker. She hadn’t touched a cigarette for over ten years before she passed away, but the damage was well and truly done in the twenty-five years prior to that. Well before her death, she knew – we all knew – that “Smoking Kills” but I believe it is by far the most toxic, most inflammatory choice you can make. I recently heard a cardiologist, Dr Ross Walker, state that one cigarette triggers 3 trillion free radicals in your bloodstream. There’s no way I could begin to calculate the total of free radicals mum would have ‘triggered’ in her bloodstream – from smoking alone – during my life, let alone prior.

And she bore me and my sister from that inflamed internal environment? What does that mean for us, our individual immune systems? Billions of humans brought into this world since the middle of the last century have potentially begun “on the back foot” as well, whether their parents smoked or not. Passive smoking aside, environmental toxins have increased dramatically – or so the pro-climate change scientists would purport and the internal environment has never before been so heavily bombarded by the chemicals in our heavily processed food, pharmaceuticals, miscellaneous drugs and alcohol; the contraindications of significantly less movement, more sitting and Stress.

If there’s one thing mum’s death has brought me, it’s an added depth of intensity to my passion for health. If there’s a present I could give to her today, it’s to promise to continue encouraging individuals to change their lives, potentially better their chances for longer lives, through better lifestyle choices.