Each week we have a wonderful volunteer who comes in to the ‘establishment’ & we do some of the most creative activities you can imagine. I love it, I look forward to art each week as we never quite know what amazing things we are going to create!
Before I started art & particularly in the early days of doing art, you would often hear out of my mouth ‘I can’t do this, I’m hopeless’ & our wonderful teacher would always quickly bounce back with her classic response ‘of course you can, NOTHING is wrong in this class, whatever we create is wonderful’. When I was at school, art was certainly not my favourite subject, nor were the teachers my favourite people, so even though it was something I was interested in exploring I was certainly nervous. It has been so interesting for me since we have had the volunteer that we have been so blessed to have, slowly my fears are beginning to fade & I am even starting to believe that perhaps I can create “things” & maybe they are not so stupid after all!
We have made clay people and pots & I have even painted a modern aboriginal painting which I might just take a photo of & add it to this post. It took me months to complete as there was so many dots that needed to be painted!
BUT……..the most exciting & fun thing thing to date was what we did today & that was the making of the wishing doll. First of all we had to write on a piece of paper a positive wish & desire we have, but not something we would share with anybody else. Once we had done that we had to screw it up into a ball & that was placed inside the calico & became the head of the doll. From there we proceeded to make the arms & legs out of wool & even the hair & socks were made out of wool. It was so much fun & the finished product was so effective, I thought I had to write a post & include a photo. My biggest issue now is thinking of a name for my wishing doll, but I thought maybe some of my followers could help me with that…….so any ideas people just let me know through the comments section!
The whole idea behind art & craft is for it not to be a time when everyone compares their work with each others & for it almost to be a competition on who can produce the ‘best’ work. There is none of that, it is a time for each of us to relax & explore our skills & talents (if there are any!!!!!) & just simply enjoy the time & learn to appreciate how much pleasure we can get from all different forms of art.
The photos below are of firstly my unnamed wishing doll & also I thought I would include a picture of my aboriginal painting.
As I’ve talked about in my earlier posts part of the reason why I am ‘living with the oldies’ is that I have a chronic illness which is attacking my nervous system. This unfortunately involves multiple organs in my body and I won’t go into all the gory details in this post but one thing it does require of me is to go to the hospital every second Tuesday for intravenous treatment. The aim of the treatment (I think) is to try and build my immune system and also slow down the progression of the disease, which both the doctors & I believe is having some success.
Since I have had so much treatment over the years & so many needles attacking my veins wanting blood it was becoming increasingly harder for them to get a canular each fortnight to put the treatment into my veins. It actually became quite distressing for me as they would have to find different people to have a go as each person reached their third attempt allowance. Eventually it was decided amongst the doctors, nurses & ofcourse myself that they would insert a device called a port-a-cath which sits just under my skin on my right chest, just below my collar bone & all they need to do each time they want to give me treatment or take blood they just ‘access’ that port (I will include some photos below so you get some idea of what I’m talking about). I must admit it is much less traumatic & as long as they get the rather large needle in the right place, it is smooth sailing.
The whole treatment process takes about two & a half hours then we go through the procedure in reverse to get the needle out. As the line from the port goes directly to my heart it is extremely important that they are very careful with their hygiene techniques which I must say the nurses are pedantic when it comes to this. Not once have I felt nervous or unsure about whether they are confident in what they are doing, they are just so lovely in this treatment day unit & it certainly takes a special type of personality to work in a unit like that as there is often people coming in there for months who might not turn up one week and the news is the dreaded disease has taken another one. It is a unit where they are infusing chemo, blood & every other poison oops I mean medicine you can think of.
Well, another Tuesday is over for me & it’s time for me to make the trek home. I usually feel fine round this time, perhaps a little tired from being poked & prodded but I’m holding up well. Then, there is Wednesday morning…….I generally wake up with a bit of a headache & my body feeling like it has been run over by a truck! But, NO, I can’t give into it, I must ofcourse listen to my body but I can’t give into it. Up I get, have some wonderful kind carer come in round 5:45am to help me with my shower, get dressed & ofcourse then the compulsory early morning coffee . I’m ready to start Wednesday & looking back on Tuesday it really wasn’t that bad after all!!
Every morning I seem to have the pleasure of bumping in to this same woman who is insistent that on her sheet it says that the bus leaves at 10am for the shops. Now, there is some truth in that, we do have a shopping bus trip that takes those more able & trustworty resident’s to the local shopping centre for one & a half hours on a Friday so we can do our little bits & pieces for the week. Needless to say ‘our friend’ is not on that bus & will never be on any bus that allows her to roam independently.
I decided foolishly & against better judgement to advise her that there is no buses today nor will there probably be any for the week. Well, it started, do I have any idea what it is like to have done flower arranging for 81 years???? Well, no I don’t guess I do was my response! But I had a better suggestion, ‘what about exercise classes they are always fun & a laugh’………..’i’ve been doing exercises for 81 years & I don’t feel like a laugh!!!!’
OK, I wasn’t having much luck with my cranky & getting crankier fellow resident! She then proceeded to rant at me for a good two minutes as to why the ‘establishment’ was not the place for her, that she needed to catch buses daily & get out to be with other non-boring people. After wiping my rather wet face (from the many sprays that I received as she described her unbearable predicament), I walked away telling her she would be best to go & wait for the bus if that was what she wanted & I hoped for her sake she was lucky enough to get a ride!
Two hours later I saw her at lunch with a big grin on her face throwing back a nice big rack of lamb………the bus trip all but forgotten! Ah…….living with the oldies – a fresh perspective, keep your sense of humour Jen!!
One great thing about being in the ‘establishment’ is that I can have my dog Tash stay with me for as many nights a week as I want. Mostly she stays about three or four and she loves it & so do the other residents. She has worked out when morning and afternoon tea is & that is her favourite part of the day as she firstly goes around and sees how many corners of biscuits she can have then she becomes the vacuum cleaner & she certainly manages to get plenty of crumbs especially on days muffins are being served!!
She also comes with me every morning and helps me deliver the morning paper to all those residents who order it, so she walks the entire length of the building and absolutely loves this time of day because yet again she has treats waiting for her , which of course she can’t resist.
Ofcourse one of the most important times of Tash’s day after “hanging out” with the residents is her sleep time, this is vital for Tash as she looooooves to sleep! Hence the photo below……….
In one of my posts I might take a picture of her visiting the residents that are in the nursing home & a lot of them are bedridden so I put Tash in her special pink doggy stroller…..yes, you read right she has her own stroller which is perfect for here as it is right at the level of their beds so they can pat her and give her kisses & ofcourse she just laps it up!
I am so grateful to the ‘establishment’ for allowing me the absolute pleasure of having my best friend come & stay here & it works both ways as I see the joy on so many faces as she walks into their rooms & ‘sits’ beautifully waiting with great anticipation that she may be lucky enough to get a corner of a scotch finger biscuit or a perhaps even half an arrowroot – who knows might be extra generous today!!!!
The final delight of Tash’s day which I cannot leave out is her morning puréed porridge tasting! Ofcourse I have to limit her intake but if I was to let her I am sure she would eat my entire serving which ofcourse is meant to be my breakfast! One thing I can say for sure is that I think it is a good idea that she is only here three or four nights a week & the rest of the time she goes to Nana & Grandads!
Today my sister & two of my beautiful nieces are coming to pick me up from the “establishment” (what we will affectionately call it from here on in!) & are taking me out to the local mall for a bit of a wander around then we are going to have my most favourite food in the world…….FROZEN YOGURT! Now, as we are still very much in the early days and getting to know each other you understandably don’t know much of my somewhat difficult health situation. One of the battles I have is that I am fed by what they call a PEJ feed which in simple English just means I have a tube in my tummy that goes all the way through to my Bowell and it runs for close to twelve hours a day. The downside of all this is that due to this disease I’m battling I can only have puréed food, so frozen yogurt for me is a treat beyond belief. I am so excited about my day I have just looked at my watch & I need to go & get ready, so I I’ll post this now but make sure I work out how to attach photos after I get back from my adventure!!
It could be so worse and I’m so aware of that & so grateful that I have been given the opportunity to stay in a place where people care & give me the help that I so badly needed but I just felt it was time to write about some of my funny experiences and perhaps even some of the not so funny, maybe even sad times that I experience. I would hope one day this might go towards my book that I have been longing & meaning to write for a number of years now! Well…….let’s begin this journey together & I hope we have some fun!!