My Learner’s License, Senior Certificate & Mum’s Broken Toe (30 November-6 December)

Monday 30/11/87

I woke to a few phonecalls, ignored them and kept sleeping. Around 11:00 – jemima saw me open my eyes.. I felt terrible…they’d all been up for ages. [This is pretty much ‘unheard of’ for me.. I was usually unable to sleep in – and was often the first one awake – at sleepovers…] and Fi was there (had been for an hour!) so we went (via my place to get money & change of clothes & take my pill) & got 2 videos & lotsa food [that is, junk… stuff I wouldn’t class as ‘food’ these days]. A Life in WordsFinally at mima’s, we watched LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS (newer one) […I’m assuming by “newer one” I meant the 1986 production as opposed to the original 1960’s version] – Funny!! Then Playing Beattie Bow through which Joannah arrived (Peter & Edward M already there) After that (not-so-good) video – talked about the party … Fi dropped me home Mum wasn’t extremely happy. She’s getting really ‘uppity’ about the amount of time I spend at home (“very little”) but I’m YOUNG and I’ve just finished SCHOOL! I need to get out and make friends & have fun!! [Ha! Dad would abruptly counter this attitude with “No, you need to get a job and start paying your way” (justified!) but mum wasn’t quite as direct as he, and I’m certain that for her it was more personal: apart from possibly feeling like she was being taken for granted (in her care-giver role) she would also have been simply missing me. I’ve always been more social than my mother & sister (this I inherit from my dad) so our motivation and understanding of each other in this respect was ‘misaligned’. Even in my later years, when I’d moved to the Gold Coast, she (& my sister) whinged about the amount of time I didn’t spend ‘at home’ when I came to visit them, but I understand that it’s fundamentally derivative of their love for me. I can certainly see however the selfishness and immaturity in my teenaged attitude now…] Anyway I nearly went to sleep around 6:00, but got up & had a shower – I knew I had to ring Crabbie. Jo & mima weren’t home. Couldn’t tell [him] much. Got Jo & mima later – they’ve no definite plans yet either so all plan-making will be done 2morrow (last minute – as usual) I [← I have no idea what this marking actually was – whether it was a capital ‘I’ or the number ‘1’ – nor, of course, why it was there: had I meant to begin another sentence or was I simply going to record the time?]

Tuesday 1/12/87

Disappointment! The party was cancelled and I only found out as I was ready to leave. Today I stayed home – sunbaked (& got a bit burnt) in the morning, as well as writing to mark (but what’s the point?)A Life in Words [The point most likely being no address to send it to? I’m not sure why else I’d consider it pointless…] and spent the afternoon unpicking [the stitching of] an old dress of mums. (I have heaps of old clothes & material to make clothes – no time & patience, though) [surprise, surprise] Jo rang a number of times during the day (Wayne did [only once] too, to say he wasn’t coming) so I started to get ready around 5:15 (and of course couldn’t find anything I wanted to wear) so finally ready at 6:50.. rang Fi to tell her I’m coming & sorry I’m late, but she still wasn’t home, so I rang mima “Oh, sorry, didn’t anyone tell you it’s been cancelled?” I must’ve shown my disappointment more than I thought cos when Fi rang, she noticed. So I stayed home – watched TV, during big thunder-/rain storms. Now is about 9:30. Early nite for once???!

Wednesday 2/12/87

10:34 – yet another night at home. But a busy day! This morning I woke around 8:00 (woke a fair bit last nite – felt still very tired & weak this morning) and Jemima rang around 9:30. We finally left for town around 11:00 (Deanne rang me beforehand, too!) I tried to ring Jo, but phone was engaged. So, met Seigi & Colleen & Danaë and Jude in town . . told us the party (ended up at Mulgrave Rd) was excellent (Great) [←Can you feel the disappointment oozing from this solitary sarcastic comment?] so I got a pair of $47 black on white (stripes) bikinis (finally!) then we all went to the beach – not many people at all! Dropped Jude & Danaë off (fi dropped off Colleen) then went around town trying to find the (indoor) soccer team etc… watched indoor soccer (Fi told me a deep secret and I feel priveleged – finally find out something about her (her love for…..)) [I have no absolutely NO recollection of the identity represented by these dots now] at home 7:30 (BIG STORMS tonite!) (No letter from Mark yet) So, a nite at home yet again. A Life in WordsMum told me at 9:30 that Jo rang so I couldn’t ring her back.. […because one of our house rules was no phone calls after 8pm …a guideline I still follow now. In fact, these days I rarely make, and sometimes choose not to answer, phone calls at all after dusk!]  GREAT!!!

Thursday 3/12/87

Well, less than a month left of this horrible revolting worst-year-of-my-life year. [This is so interesting, because unbeknownst to me, the coming year (1988) was to prove quite difficult for me as well (nothing as traumatic as the bus accident though of course) and for many, many years to follow, I despised it more than 1987. In fact, pretty much up until I began this blog, I actually considered 1987 (coupled with ’86) the best year(s) of my life. Much of this I think related to my burgeoning social and love lives, as well as the freedom of responsibility of childhood/school-life entwined with the imminent privileges of adulthood. Thankfully this very blogging process has released me from that limiting belief: whilst I’m re-living my past in detail, I’m also an observer and this has perfectly unlocked whatever deep, powerful connection I had to these times in my life (for which I am still grateful nonetheless, for the lessons they have individually and collectively presented to me). It’s truly liberating.] Thank God! But what’ll I do now? For the rest of my life? It’s a worry. [See my line of thought? Responsibility = Worry. Much of the time these are directly proportional to one another…] I spent the (nearly the) whole day at home …sewing!! (I’m making things out of mum’s old clothes – chop, chop!) Wrote a bit more to Mark, and in the mail, got a note to pick up a parcel at Freshwater P.O. .. it was my (very battered and carelessly handled) [art] folio So, I didn’t get an interview, nor a note ..so Kelvin Grove .. UP YOURS!! A Life in WordsI’ll just have to do something totally different to Uni career [one rejection and “it’s all over”…] – other apprenticeships like hairdressing, nursing & journalist cadetship on a magazine, till Jo, Jude & I open our boutique. [The flights of fancy we kiddies have/had! I’m fairly sure nursing required formal study even back then, and as for the magazine cadetship… ha! I think that Hollywood & the media in general might have ‘duped’ me there. As for the boutique with my friends… well, I’d forgotten all about that and in fact, didn’t realise I was still considering a fashion career at this stage…] Anyway Fi came down & took me and I GOT MY LEARNERS (FINALLY!) and my hair show ticket. [Another hair show? There was one just last week…] Home again, but she took me late nite shopping. No cuties [read: no ‘talent’ to perve on] was fun with CB, Glyn, Anna, Colleen LAUGH! Saw John C – not so stunningly gorgeous as he used to be – but I still wouldn’t mind him falling for me (laugh in a million) [self deprecating humour] Went to KFC after (Jeff, Cam, Glyn, CB, Anna, Fi Col & me) [Jesus, again? You might as well have lived there…]

Friday 4/12/87

Today, I stayed home (yet again!) Wasn’t too occupied: I mean, in the morning I went to school briefly to pick up my report (senior certificate) I got VH for eng! WOW! Sounds for maths & chem and highs for biol & arts.. [To this day, it amazes me that English was my best subject, considering the very reason I moved to Cairns High in the first place was for the CAD Art ‘School of Excellence’ course. I remember feeling disappointed (and even embarrassed) with myself for not attaining the same (top) achievement level in my art subjects. But Liss, it’s not like you put a great deal of time & effort into your schoolwork in order to realise those preferred results, yes? There’s no room for your perfectionism now; too little, too late!] Ms Forbes said I’ll get in 800’s, could even possibly get 880!!! wow, cool! [Cool, but not cool enough for the institutions and courses that were my first preferences…] Rang Kelvin Grove while I was there – about my interview – they said “no offer”. (REJECTION! Great) So at home, I made a skirt out of one of mum’s old daggy skirts.. and I wore it out tonight .. with Fi’s white shirt .. got asked for I.D. showed my ‘melted’ false I.D. and was allowed! [That scenario these days? Not. A. Chance!] (But privacy omission], Colleen Anna & Fi got in no q’s) Anyway, overall was a pretty cool nite! Slow to start with.. but Geoffry M, Jim C and a few others provided drool materialA Life in Words . . got fairly drunk (won bottle of bubbly with Marney & Joyce & Colleen & [privacy omission]) Saw lotsa older people – Rodney B etc (all college, uni people: Tanya!) Left around 2:00 or so . .. I got home 2:30 to sleep. Jo rang tonite. She told me she talked to [privacy omission]: she’s screwed Steven & Mark . that’s all. But she said Mark saw a bit of [her] before he left. -ie. sunday nite. She said they just talked, I don’t know if so… but I’m angry cos he lied to me…. (WHAT’S NEW??)→ can only be expected of him – he’ll never change

Saturday 5/12/87

WORKED! Dad let me drive to the Red Beret and I did quite well! Nearly knocked over a bicyclist and missed the gates to the Red Beret and almost took out a tree. Apart from that, I was good! […well, at least I’m remaining positive…] Did barely any work at work: talked to Jenny mostly about Julia & mainly my career …she’s pushing me to be a nurse. [Dad on the other hand wanted me to join the Armed Forces: it would have been the ideal situation; discipline, commitment and (the big bonus for him) paid education.] But I still got $10 for the day…and a big healthy yummy lunch. Rush to get ready – were heaps of people. I felt ‘out of it’ to start with – wearing not black & white, but khaki & white. [So it was evidently a Black & White themed hair show…] Anyway, my view position was good, but bad at the same time – I was seated, behind Jim C but much some of my vision obscured. It was pretty good: altogether, as a show, unco-ordinated but some individual salon productions were excellent (All amateurish) after, tried to find the party- traipsed all over town looking. Playpen Hill & party & nest. I was so pissed off with [privacy omission]. Stewart was there outside Nest one stage & [she] was being slimy and she knew I was there (she thought I was in a bad mood with her, so I’m sure she did it on purpose. [No Liss, you can’t ever be sure…] Even if not, she knows the way I feel about him) Eventually (saw Phil C. Jim C. at show) Sue, Fi & I grabbed food from a 24hr→

Sunday 6/12/87

→shop & (I rang mum) we stayed at Fi’s. A Life in WordsI got a bit emotional (worried) about Mark, but we got to sleep around 3:00 I’d say. ..Woken around 9:00-9:30 by Banks’s cat (all over us) After brekky etc, went (picked up my gear) to Palm Cove; about 11:30. Got there & engine was overheating (radiator we filled last nite at Alison’s) It was empty again. Idsteins helped us out – we went to Bitter Creek [ummm, I have NO memory of knowledge of this place in the Cairns region, at all. Can anyone fill me in?] & they fixed pipe connection (radiator thermostat corroder) […er, whatever that is…] for us. At beach (after lunch (saw tanya!)) baked (and now I’m mostly brown – bit red) saw Jo & on our way home noticed overheating again. Back to Bitter Creek. they said a whole lot of things were going wrong.. water in oil feul filter melted (hole) but mainly water reservoir not full enough. We attempted getting back to Cairns – having to stop every 100m or so to let it cool down (useless) about Kewarra, a guy helped us ..said H2O reservoir needed to be EMPTY so radiator H2O vapour could go there.. [he] was right – perfect all the way to D’s newsagency. car overheatingLeft the car there – Sue went with her parents home. Fi & I drove round – got a pizza (for tea) & had a talk… got home 6:40 .. watched TV listened to Take 40 is now 11:30 & I’m buggared. *Mum has suspected broken (little) toe: cos I rang 2:00 in the morning to tell her where I was; she kicked it hard. MY FAULT. [This exact incident occurred years later as well. Mum had established a Trust system with me when my social life began to ‘intensify’ (read: basically when I began attending nightclubs) that allowed me a generous amount of freedom in exchange for honesty and ‘accountability’. In other words, she just wanted to know my plans, my whereabouts and if they changed to inform her as soon as possible “no matter what time of the night …or day”. So, whilst I felt terrible both times she ‘ran’ for the phone in the middle of the night kicking and breaking toes on the way, I consoled myself in the knowledge that I was doing as she asked, that I had done ‘the Right Thing’…]

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OJ Spews, ‘Approximate Exactitude’ & Relief for Nana (10-16 August)

Monday 10/8/87

Felt a bit down again this morning. I can’t get over the time he spent with her. All night they talked – all night I believe nothing happened. I really do, but it still hurts to think he spent 5 odd hours talking to her.. alone, without getting bored. He would never do that with me. Can you understand? [Oh I understand something completely different…] It makes me feel really down- [like] I bore him or something. Anyway I perked up around lunchtime (incidentally I don’t like Angela’s hair black, at all) See, it is jealousy – I’m jealous that she can keep him interested, that he would talk with her alone all night without getting bored. […and my opinion about her new hair colour would most likely have been a little tainted by this jealousy…] God it hurts so much. It’s pointless me trying to let him know. I’ve tried in the past to talk & explain – its useless – he doesn’t hear me. [Soooo… maybe don’t try ..and save some of your precious energy?] What am I doing here, then? [Exactly.] Did some HW tonight. I resent any talk about that night. [Privacy omission] said “as a joke” something to Nicole about Mark wanting to fuck her. THAT IS REALLY SICK. A Life in Words[What I’m unable to illustrate – due to the limitations of computer text options – is how heavily I had underlined the word ‘really’ (see pic). Not once, but four times. I evidently felt strongly about this…] another late night.

Tuesday 11/8/87

Strangely, we’ve been getting on pretty well over the past few days. Wonder why? [Now the positives induce suspicion.. this isn’t ‘healthy’.] It’s wierd. [and I continue to spell ‘weird’ incorrectly…] A Life in WordsAnyway I woke this morning with a sore throat, from all my coughing & I felt a little sick in a wierd way. I was also v. tired. I went to school anyway, thinking it was over-fatigue, but at school it got worse (on & off) By the end of lunchtime I had the biggest headache so Jason drove me home. I bombed out and slept till about 3:19 [LOL. “about” 3:19? What, was it 3:18 and 54 seconds… or a few milliseconds after 3:19? Approximate exactitude is oxymoronic!] (heard the answering machine), then till about 3:45 when mum & Jules arrived home. I slept the rest of the afternoon (after some chips) my throat is dry & a bit sore from all the coughing & my headache is horrible. I had some fish for tea: not much + pineapple (sickly) Dozed in front of T.V. till mum “dragged” me to bed about 8:00-8:30. [One of the sweeter, long-lost memories of my mum’s expression of love for me: I can hear her in my groggy stupor murmuring my name, gently shaking, then trying to lift me up from whatever position I’d languished in. And when I acquiesced, she’d’ve escorted my aimless body all the way to my bed.] Hope I get better for Friday – baseball & Sat nite-Nigel’s party. Was going to ring Mark, but headache was too bad & I was too weak to bother

Wednesday 12/8/87

Really restless sleep last night – about 11:30 I woke…and vomited (chips, fish & orange juice) [oh, the burn! OJ is possibly the worst thing to regurgitate I think…] A Life in Wordsstayed home today (for sure!) Mark didn’t ring & I couldn’t be bothered to ring him. Fiona, Jason & Anna dropped round after school sometime, for a short while. My headache disappeared this morning – today I had fever (temp.) cough and sinus blockage and was very tired and weak. Is about 9:00 or so now. Auntie Ruth [my mum’s aunt – one of my grandmother’s (many) sisters] arrived around 7:45 tonight. Read my novel all day. Ate 3 mandarins & an orange .. lots of vitamin C. Am taking tomorrow off as well, to make sure I’m better for the weekend. [Because my social life was always first priority…] Did no work & I have an english assignment due on Friday + a biol test on Tuesday. Heavens above! (←ha!) [I’m probably laughing at myself using such ‘dated’ – and semi-religious – terminology here.]

Thursday 13/8/87

A Life in Words
The earliest photo (in my possession) of Nana & me, at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane. There’s no date on it but judging by the size of me, it would have to be 1971-72

Slept very restlessly last night; woke nearly every hour, I think. I heard the phone ring around 6:00 this morning. Nana died. [Clearly my great-aunt Ruth arrived just in time for her sister’s passing, but I’m not sure whether she actually got to visit her.] I didn’t cry when mum told me & I don’t think I really will cry over the fact that she’s dead → I’m so glad she’s out of her misery – she was in a lot of it. [And that was it. I think, having personally met with Death in such an intense and unique way just six months earlier myself, I was somewhat prepared emotionally – and spiritually – for this moment, which is evident in my reasoning. I still believe – in fact more now than ever – that ‘wherever’ we ‘go’ when we pass is ‘better’. At this point in time, I was comforted by the ‘knowledge’ that leaving her gnarled body, Nana was now free of the insufferable rheumatoid arthritic pain. And to be brutally honest, since I wasn’t terribly close to her (we ‘clashed’ a lot in my early teens) I wasn’t going to miss her presence on a daily basis as I did Monique’s…] I spent the day reading again.. no fever – am just very tired & have the cough & nasal congestion still, but I feel (and Auntie Ruth agrees) that after tonight’s sleep I’ll be fine. I hope so. I rang Mark tonight .. cos it didn’t look like he was going to ring me. He was at Earlville with Terry ..so rang back. The phone did not stop ringing tonite – Keith & Jemima also rang me. My eyes are stinging – I need sleep to get better. I had 4 (or 5??) mandarins today! (+ dinner – veges) so I should have the vitamins required to boost my energy level tomorrow. [See? Even back then I was acquiring and demonstrating basic nutrition knowledge, hinting at my innate passion for the subject!] Haven’t done english assignment. Too bad. I’ll come late to school: miss double english. Is 9:45 …To sleep!!!

Friday 14/8/87

I’m feeling quite a bit better now. See, this morning I woke – feeling absolutely normal .. until I got up. The cough was persistent and even got worse early tonight, and my tiredness, fatigue & weak feelings plagued me (Making my joints feel heavy, and ache) I went to school anyway – it was a total waste. At little lunch (I went to school during 3rd period) I had to go up to Mark. He said one or two things & that was it. Didn’t even turn to face me, or offer to make room for me to sit down. So I went & sat on my own, practically, he walked past & did nothing. He walked to art ahead of me. Love the concern he shows for me. (He doesn’t – that’s just it, elissa – you should know by now it’s the way he is.) [ …if that’s so, and you aren’t happy, why persist?] so I was really depressed & mum picked me up at big lunch. I dozed at home. Mike & Cynthia bought over dinner – Golden Rooster. Couldn’t eat too much my stomach has shrunk. Is 9:30. I had a lemon & honey drink (YUK) as a last resort. A Life in Words[And I bloody-well love those things now… with ginger and turmeric added as well. Here’s a link to the recipe on my food blog, Food Fervour] Good sleep tonite & hopefully I’ll be fine for the party. Mark really gets to me. [You “let” him. No one is put on this Earth to either elate nor annoy You.] Hey! I’m not coughing!!! (Yet – touch wood!)

Saturday 15/8/87

I woke this morning – coughing. [I obviously didn’t touch any wood?] Alas & alack! But it was easier for me to stand etc. I still get times when my joints (limbs) ache & feel weak, but not as much, and not as bad, as before. We went to the doctor & got amoxyl (penecillan) & cough tablets. [So it obviously wasn’t a flu or viral infection after all?] I’ve been resting a fair bit today, in preparation for the party. (I’m going- there’ll be plenty of opportunities for me to sit down if I need it, mima said) Mark hasn’t rung. I’ve been thinking alot while lying down today… nothing’s the same anymore. We need the biggest, longest talk. There’s a lot of sorting out to do. A lot. [Talking… sorting out… it’s pointless when only one party is ‘interested’…] I’m not exactly “elated” in this relationship. [You don’t say?] A Life in WordsHe doesn’t make me feel like the ‘princess’ I used to be. [*NB: back in the 80’s being a ‘princess’ didn’t have the negative connotations that it can these days.] But that’s not all. [….well, what?] It’s almost 6:00. Am going around 8:30. [There was no mark in my diary to indicate I’d finished the earlier segment of my entry, but from here on in I’m clearly writing at a later point in time (most likely when I got home) describing my night:] It [the party] wasn’t that good. In fact, a waste of time. Only having tea when Jemima, Brent & Fi arrived ..at Nigel’s  it was boring. No one there. saw Mark & Keith once, they came back & went again. I went and lay down in Nigel’s room (feeling ill) Jemima, Brent, Jason & Fi talking to me. Mark told Sue he didn’t think I liked him. He thought I didn’t like him. (How?) went downstairs & Keith was there – took us to the other party everyone was raving about, At Toogood Road. TONNES, & I mean TONNES of people there→

Sunday 16/8/87

I was bored: Feeling ill, I needed to sit down all the time + problem of Mark – I asked him about it, but he seemed reluctant to talk so left him alone all night. I asked him to take me home, but I went with Brett instead (Cameron too). Just dropped cameron off – in Collins Ave. Brett stopped & I was sick (O.J.) At home I bombed out & I didn’t wake till around 10:00-10:30 this morning. Party was the pits. I asked nearly everyone if they knew what was up with Mark, [oh Elissa!] No one did tho’. Watched TV, rested today. Mark & Keith came over around 3:00 in the afternoon. Left soon after. I asked Mark to come around again tonight. A Life in WordsWe went to the park.. bit hard to get started talking, straight away, and the talk was not quite what I expected it to be. It’s really strange. This week, Mark was, apparently, really insecure – thought I was going to end the relationship. I can tell he still feels different, in a way. But it mattered a lot to him. And after that party I realised it. He not only loves me, he’s devoted, too. [You can’t be serious?] He left around 9:00. I watched mini-series show. Is now 10:40. Clean my teeth & off to bed.

Her Funeral, the Public Memorial & Raw Meat Pie (9-15 February)

Monday 9/2/87

Mark saw me 2 times today!! Came up in his wheelchair! He was chirpier and only stayed little whiles. I was shitty in the morning – woken early again cos I couldn’t roll over – so bad – makes me restless so I’m still tired & cranky. A shower and I still felt bad – exhausted. But I put lotsa pressure on my left leg – put all my weight on it (nearly) GREAT! (But dad reminded me tonight about the crack in my femur – don’t wanna make that worse.) [In the long term this injury amounted to nothing: at some stage I recall a doctor saying they weren’t even certain it existed: the crack was so fine that it could have simply been a scratch on the X-ray itself] They also dressed my right leg (the deep puncture) today – Tania C (who was here all day – 10am to 8pm!!) and my fav. nurse Alison “comforted” me but I made heaps of noises – it was bad. [I’ve already ascertained that my vocal chords are not inhibited in times of Stress…] My leg was put on an electric exerciser – it was great – bending & moving my right leg!! I was wary at first. God changing the dressing was hell-ful. I also did my first shit in one week or ≈8/9 days. [Ok, for new readers, I need to explain: my family – dad in particular – was not very inhibited with regard to discussing bodily functions. To the point that (perennial comedian he is) he coined a phrase for the phenomenon: the “Coxen Bowel Fetish”. If you care to better understand this unique family trait, there’s a fuller explanation in this post from my 1984 archives] Quite a few visitors perked me up. We watched video of Friday’s school memorial & tree planting. Sound was terrible couldn’t hear anything. Cried anyway. [Naturally] Mark got his tube out of his lung. Am tired now – hoping I can roll over tonight. Glad Mark visited me “a lot”. I really do think he likes me a lot – that letter says it all & so has he. It’s about […and then I forgot to fill in the time..]

A Life in Words
Goodbye my beautiful friend x

Tuesday 10/2/87

I went to Monique’s funeral by car around 2:30 I thought it’d “do the job” – but I still don’t think I’ve cried enough. I realised I lost a true friend – a person I met & related with so soon, but trusted quickly & forever. She lives in my heart & mind. I need her to live with me. I met Kerri; saw Mr & Mrs P. I cry when I see them & Camille & Kerri. [I think this was the last time I would see Monique’s mother for a very long time. Apparently she refused to see me because it was too painful, because it was always with Monique. Of course this upset me, but how could I fail to understand that?] Kerri & her mum came to the hospital tonight. She doesn’t say much. [Kerri was Monique’s ‘previous’ best friend in Brisbane. With hindsight I now understand she may not have “said much” because she too would have been in shock and grieving…] I felt really cranky after the funeral – my leg was sore. people all looking at me [I’m hardly an exhibitionist, but I can tolerate a certain amount of attention. Things mustn’t be ‘rosy’ if I am shunning the ‘spotlight’…] – went home in a stretcher in an ambulance. Rolled over (partly) last night! But woken early by nurses anyway 6:00. ooooh! Bumsore! Legsore! Change of dressing was bad again today. I hate it so much. [I still hadn’t the courage to look at the wound: I have always found that one method of tolerating (physical) pain is to not look at what’s causing it. For example, I still can’t watch the needle piercing my dermis in the act of blood giving, for example…] Tanya (C.) & Alison “helped” me again, tho’ I bit Tanya’s back today. Umah. [Clearly it’s not just my vocal chords that respond to stress: so do my jaw muscles…] Funny – having Tanya in all day. (And yesterday) She’s good company. [She really was one of my Saviours] Mark came up little while once. Tonight for longer … gave him kiss (little) worried – Jaque & Michael B both say Tricia spends 2hrs a day with him. I must trust him. Exerciser again – bending knee higher. memorial service tomorrow. Will it do the final job of recovering me? Will it get me out of shock? [Oh the naivety… if only it was as easy as ‘flicking a switch’…] must be with mark 4 it. about 9:00

A Life in Words
The Civic Memorial at St Monica’s Cathedral spilled out into the street

Wednesday 11/2/87

A Life in Words
A photographer captures my feeling during the civic memorial

packed day. Slept badly again-rolling a little isn’t enough … I went for a shower (reluctantly almost) and stood on my left leg to do so (I went to the ladies for the 1st time – out of a wheelchair – on a seat for the bath.) Then after using the loo- yes, proper loo! for a shit, yes, poo! (Talked to Trina – both of us for 10mins!) Ambulance men came. Mum hadn’t come with my uniform so Jaque let me wear hers. I felt terrible at first. I was smiling & waving at people [well… you were free of your hospital room for the first time in 6 days, and since visitor numbers had declined, seeing familiar faces after ‘so long’ would have been quite refreshing] & couldn’t cry – but later, during the eulogies, it all came out. Monique was my 1st best friend in about 6yrs [I can’t think whom I supposed my previous best friend was… six years earlier I would’ve been in Year 5 or 6 at primary school] – I think my first true one [indisputable]. I love her & I’m gonna miss her so much – not gonna be there (physically) anymore, when I need her… left in tears (news crews there – I was on the news – Mark too & others) They made me get on crutches – walk today. It hurt so much…even more (?? not sure) than dressing the wound ..I screamed but it was better today than “ever”. [“Dressing the wound” was a tad more complex than you might think. Still unable to bring myself to look at it, all I knew at this stage was that they had to ‘pack’ the wound daily with saline-soaked cottonwool, around the two plastic ‘drains’ that were buried in there. That may begin to give you an idea of the extent of the injury…] Lotsa Smithfield people came becca p, Karen & toni & Jo B – gave me a record voucher & chocolates. [Yes, black vinyl. We still had record players in the late 80’s, although cassettes were more predominantly used (in our walkmans, right?) CD’s were pretty much unheard of’.] Isn’t that great? Um, saw mark little – another kiss. He’s going tomorrow. hope he sees me at school lunchtimes. I wonder if Tricia kisses him when she sees him. Bitch – spending too much time with him. [The Green Monster] Hope nothing happens back at school. OH WOE!!

Thursday 12/2/87

I nearly fainted on the crutches this arvy – I decided to try and walk to the loo – but the pain in my leg – the blood rushing to my wound my feet – by my wound – made me light-headed weak, dizzy. After drinking water – I was wheeled to the loo. SHit. I’ve been eating choc-coated peanuts they made me shit 2 times more this arvy. [I can’t decide whether the ‘SHit’ was an expletive because I failed to get to the bathroom on my own & had to be wheeled in, or whether it was an introduction to the statement detailing my bowel movements…] After loo, I went to see Mark – talked & mucked around. He went home. (after long (??) time) But he has to come here 10pm – stay the night so they can check his leg in the morning. Hope he visits me. Said he’s going to movies tomorrow night – & it only just occurred to me: with whom? TRICIA? NO! He CAN’T. WOULDN’T. COULDN’T. might? Oh dear; I hope he visits me lots. I’ll miss him – I already do. Doctors undressed my leg today so I had no painkillers WHATSOEVER. I let out a scream & one doctor revved me. [I was immediately stunned into silence; why did the doctor snap at me? How could he be so heartless? So rough, insensitive & unsympathetic? Aren’t all medical professionals meant to be caring? I was a kid for chrissakes, with a hole in my leg …to which the dressings stuck fast every day. Was I not entitled to react to Pain? I literally dreaded the doctors’ rounds thereafter, and even tried to arrange bathroom sojourns in order to evade them. This experience may also possibly underlie my partial aversion to the clinical medical industry…] I saw the wound – unpacked. Yukky. [That’s a bit of an understatement. A Life in WordsThe only way I have been able to describe it to people is in this light: imagine you took the pastry top off a meat pie, and discovered not only that it was uncooked (red-raw) inside, but that there were also two bits of plastic tubing staring out at you. That was what my right inner thigh (about 10cms above my knee) looked like. It’s a real shame we never managed to take any photos of it.] Then waited ages till the nurses brought the stuff – to repack themselves I was much better today I think. Took stitches out of my [left] knee. God I wish my muscles would work themselves. [That’s what every lazy person wishes with regard to physical activity!] It’s 9:00. I need an early night. So I can hack walking or even standing tomorrow. I hate it. HURTS SO BAD. ♥ u mark!

Friday 13/2/87

My bruising appears to be going down – it’s fading.. I got on crutches lots today… walkies!! and I didn’t scream or even yell when my dressing was done! (I had the Finnish sister – she’s really gentle – doesn’t rip off stuff that’s stuck to the wound- soaks it in NaCl+H2O [saline solution] and gently prys apart.) But the best bit was… MY CAMERA WAS FOUND & THE HORNETTS PROCESSED THE FILM! I Have PHOTOS! 20 photos some good, some boring – but all are great campshots. Not enough of Monique. A few visitors today. Mark came up before he left. 2 goodbye kisses. I’m gonna miss him. He’d better come up tomorrow. If he doesn’t I’ll bash him!! Ha, ha! (Not going to movies- he’s going to dinner with family- “WELCOME HOME”.) Getting rain lots now. Think periods are over, thank god. Ms Mars. came up & gave us (Trina & I) [art] work. Pizza (from dad) for tea. Jaque’s going home tomorrow. Will be boring-er [meaning: more boring] when she’s gone. Yowie fell out of bed last night & Mark almost ran him over today. (in wheelchair) God, he’s lost weight – skinny runt. Restless sleep last night …couldn’t get comfortable – couldn’t roll over much. Shitty right leg. hurry up & heal! about 9:30.

A Life in Words
Sometime after the back-biting incident, I was presented with this teething ring to use during dressing changes. (I think my mum bought it for Tania’s sake!) It was clearly well-used…

Saturday 14/2/87

VALENTINE’S I got from him a red rose, a balloon-on-a-stick (saying “I love you”) and a card (and even a little letter-which is great, considering he finds it hard to write) he came during the last 15mins or so of my dressing- I didn’t know for the first 10 mins. and was babbling on.. Ha,ha. He stayed quite some time- about 4 or 5 kisses altogether today. Love that guy… can’t wait til I’m better & we’re both back at school. Cried more for Monique today. Realised how she’s the only one I’ll really miss – she’s the one who was most part of my life. I love you Monique. I wish you were here. I thought about being dead today. If I’d died, I wouldn’t’ve minded – cos moni’d be with me.. I’d feel none of the pain I get with this leg etc [The contemplation of Death is unavoidable in an experience such as this. You meet with it yourself, you lose your peers to it, you can’t hide from it. Up to this point in time, I naturally hadn’t formed many beliefs (we were never a highly religious family). I hadn’t conceived of much: ‘Where’ exactly do you – did they – Go? Heaven? What is Heaven? Does it even exist? The Fear of Death is simply the Unknown, so it’s clear that in one (very odd) respect I benefitted from Monique’s death: it removed an element of Fear about the Afterlife (or simply, ‘After’). I believed I would not be Alone, and I would not feel (physical) Pain…] ..Few visitors ..boring day cause JACQUE LEFT at 10:30. It’s so different without her. Ate lotsa junk today Hospital food -yukky-some alright. Kentucky from Trina’s parents for tea. I still will cry for monique I don’t think I’ll ever stop – slow down maybe, but never stop. [I was right. But the tears much, much fewer and farther between, because… Life Goes On.] Easier on crutches, esp. tonight.

Sunday 15/2/87

Mark did come in today.. was boring for him, I could tell..reckons he won’t come back or see me for 3 weeks… I reckon he’ll come back. Has to. I’ll bash him if he doesn’t!! [What’s with all this ‘bashing’ Liss? A bit aggressive…] Love that guy. He came in before I went for a shower and had my dressing changed – saw the hole in my leg. Crabbe came in yet again…and Tania, but what’s new? Missing Alyson (nurse) quite a few new nurses now Did my daily exercise – crutch to loo shower, clean my teeth, to the “lookout room” at the other end of this floor & other miscellaneous crutch expeditions. Here I was thinking this diary would be just big enough. Next year I’m gonna get a thick book & write when I feel like it…probly every night, but more often if I feel inclined. Slept quite well last night. Talked to lotsa people, Justin, Daniel A, Dad, mum about their side of the story; what they felt ..what happened to them. [I believe ‘sharing’ experiences assists in the grieving and/or healing process. I have been surprised by the number of readers who have, through their gratitude to me for these blogposts, expressed this. While she wasn’t a ‘diariser’ like I, Mum managed to maintain a journal for a few weeks after the accident and I intend to transcribe parts of that in another, separate post in the near future. Reading it myself is difficult for two reasons: not merely identifying with (or trying to imagine) her experience, but also because she has now passed, her absence (my Loss) is accentuated.] I realised I haven’t dreamt since the accident. 2 weeks almost. Wonder if that’s [a] mental side effect. Will ask a social worker tomorrow. Eeek! Doctors tomorrow looking at my wound. No escaping it! Aaagh! Ate a fair bit today. Ooo-er! Rainy, cool… I think I’m getting better physically… mentally no.. I’m depressed… I’ll be in here at least another week.. I reckon 2. Everybody else’ll be gone by then I bet.

An Anaesthetic Hangover & Getting Out of Bed (7-8 February)

[Having gotten no further than the 6th February in my scrapbook, we now return to simply my diary entries, so here I have included the weekend and as of Monday 9th, posts will revert to weekly publishing again.]

Saturday 7/2/87

I saw Mark for about one minute today. He wasn’t very happy – looked stiff, like in a lot of discomfort. [I can’t imagine sitting upright in a wheelchair with a punctured lung would be terribly comfortable.] This was about 1:30 today. I wish we could’ve had more time and privacy. Gave me a pink teddy (I’ve called Yowie) and a cute little bunch of dried flowers with one red rose. (and said simply “Elissa, get well soon babe, Lots of Love, Mark.” I am really tired now. I went into surgery about 9:00, came out at 10:00 but didn’t wake til about 12:30. [Apparently this surgery was merely a dressing change, on my right leg’s injury. Because it was the first one since my ‘scrub’ surgery when I was first admitted (on Wednesday evening) I have assumed that the medics needed to assess the state of the wound, without the added complication of my ‘response’ in the conscious state. I could of course be completely mistaken…] A Life in WordsCrabbe (Wayne) was here again. Rebecca P even came in too. The effect of the anaesthetic hasn’t worn off all day – been dopey etc. [The state of my handwriting attests to this… see the picture] My drip was changed back to my right arm – now its so painful. There is much less dressing on my left knee – can move quite well still. Gordon C & Clayton E came in today too. Had quite a few visitors again. Slept badly.. woke early again cos of restlessness- inability to move during sleep.

Sunday 8/2/87

A Life in Words
In my hospital bed, with my fav teddies Monique & Yowie

I was in the best of spirits today- my left leg is so mobile!! I can even (with a lot of effort) lift it off the bed!! Slept badly last night – waking up in pain from my drip. [Good god, if it’s not one thing, it’s another…] Moved it again in the morning to my left (elbow) again .. then took it out for good!! I got in a wheelchair & had a shower & washed my hair for the first time in one week!! Then I felt so great & comfortable that the nurses let me go down & see Mark!! We sat – didn’t say much at all. Wondering if he’s shitty with me cause everybody else says he natters away when they’re with him. [Believe it or not, it actually crossed my mind that he might have been ‘shitty’ because I didn’t get Erica off him while trapped under the bus. This is, of course, ridiculous. But it’s the kind of paranoid imaginings a young girl with shaky self confidence and a kind of inferiority complex can have…] Anyway Sandra took me to see Melinda B after. We laughed so much. I felt really great today – no pain when I coughed or laughed. [I was completely unaware that I’d felt any pain of that kind, but I realise it’s almost to be expected: being thrown around like a rag doll is bound to affect thoracic musculature…] magic. more patients came later in the arvy – VISITORS, I mean!! [hasn’t that anaesthetic worn off yet?] I’m pooped now. Just realised how this thing has changed my life – the crash that is. [I’d love to know exactly what I meant by this, what my specific thoughts were. It’s an ambivalent statement, a tease if you will: what Change was my imagination envisaging precisely? I wish I had had the diary space (or merely inclination?) to provide more detail.] I’m not looking forward to the next 14 days – the doctors this morning reckon I’ll be in for another fortnight. SHIT. I don’t know if I will be able to cope with the pain of physio & “dressing changing” tomorrow. [I must have had ESP…] I ♥ u Mark. It’s about 8:50 now I think.