As a 50+ woman who no longer has the pert breasts, flat tummy and smooth skin, is it any wonder that I don’t post naked photos of myself. Is it any wonder that when I do go to a beach I make sure it’s quiet, empty and during the week where I don’t feel like I’m being compared to the under 30s who have yet to feel the ravages of time/motherhood and other of lifes vagaries. I do appreciate my friends who are older, don’t have the perfect bodies and yet will post photos of themselves, in their everyday environment doing everyday activites. However, there still appears to be those that feel it is their duty to post photos of the younguns. Or to quote “pretty young fillies” I was okay with it at first but it’s getting a bit much. It’s like I’m being shamed by being in a world where the perfect body is the preferred option. Maybe how I’m feeling is wrong but I can’t help feeling as i do.
So where does one start? Well, I’ve decided to take a deep dive and let it all hang out. Yup, what started my life going in a downward spiral. Now please don’t get me wrong. This is not a cry for sympathy. I don’t expect nor do I want the “oh you poor thing” etc etc. This is my catharsis. My outpouring of the “stuff” as I like to call it.
So where do I start. As Maria sings in The Sound of Music…. Let’s start at the very beginning.
14th September 2006 my father in law passes away. Yes, lots of people lose a parent, however the relationship between hubby and his dad was incredibly close. To say that hubby was shattered would be an understatement. I would say that even to this day, he hasn’t really recovered. However, I shan’t dwell any longer on this.
To go back a bit, in August we had farewelled our 19 year old daughter on her first overseas trip. She was going to Macau on her first professional dance contract. To say that she was excited would be understating how we felt. Excitement, fear, trepidation…. the list goes on. Smiles and tears as we waved her goodbye.
Let’s move forward again. 13th November we receive a phone call. 11.30pm. I had just come home from a business meeting. It’s a gentleman identifying himself as William. The father of my daughters’ boyfriend. She is in hospital having suffered 2nd – 3rd degree burns to 30-50% of her body. I get his details and thank him and will be in touch. I turn around and husband is at bedroom door. I tell him. He puts his head in his hand.
This is when I turn into an automaton. First call to father. Need cash. No prob says father. Email to travel insurance Company to advise of accident, and to organise insurance for me. Call No 3. Qantas to book noon flight to HK. Email to close friend, who lives in Shanghai and hubby works for Qantas. Call William in Macau to advise of arrival details. pack. 3am to bed. 6am awake. Dad arrives. I cry. He soothes. To airport. On flight. I’ve been upgraded. Alcohol is free. I don’t overindulge. Well, I have a Scottish gentleman sitting next to me so the Scotch comes out.
Yes I’m going on a bit however this is my catharsis.
Arrive in Macau. William and April are at ferry terminal and take me to hospital. All I recall is walking into a brightly lit, overcrowded with visitors, hospital room. The hushed tones of “It’s the Mum” I look at the body in the bed, with a male form leaning over her, the boyfriend. He moves away, looking at me however all I can look at is her. My baby. My firstborn. Laying prone in that bed, only half of her face visible. Everything else is swathed in bandages. I then see her. She’s smiling at me. A half whisper “hi mum”
I think back now……. How did I not lose it. How did I stay so calm.
So much of that three weeks is a blur. Doctors, nurses, most of which didn’t speak any english. Not a single word. Burns Specialist telling me, in his broken English, that she’ll be fine. No scarring. back on stage by end February. I believed him. ??? Having them tell me I can’t be there as they change the bandages, however I can hear her. Removing those bandages that are stuck to the skin. They soak her in the bath. ( I find out later, at Concorde Hospital, that the water they’ve soaked her in is contaminated !!!! ) Her cries cut through me like a knife. A very sharp knife. I can only wait for her to come back so that I can comfort her. I pray. A lot. My bible is my friend, my companion, my soothing lotion. There are nights when I lay on the bed next to her, I read scripture to her. it soothes her. Days when we walk the corridors to keep her moving. Compared to most there, she is like an Amazon 5’11, slim and blonde. The nurses gaze in awe as she walks past. She smiles at them. She has the most beautiful smile and through all her pain, she always has a smile for others.
After much toing and froing with the insurance company they finally agree to send a nurse to escort her back to Sydney. What a shit fight that was. I found a strength i had no idea i had. God kept me strong in a way i never thought was possible.
The flight back was a horror. She was in so much pain. Finally, I convinced the nurse to give her something. She finally falls asleep, half an hour before they had to wake her for landing.
So we arrive in Sydney and we get whipped through customs etc so fast my head was in a whirl. Through doors where no one can go unless you are Level 1 security (or whatever it’s called) then we’re out, there’s her father. Speechless. And there’s that smile of hers “Hi Dad”
We go outside. Yup, car is not there to meet us. (Bloody insurance company) I’m normally a more than patient person. car not there, no prob. But not today. My daughter needs to be attended to NOW!!!!!!!!
Have you ever noticed how the most placid…… patient… sweet person can turn into a banshee when she needs to be. Yup, that was me. DON’T MESS WITH ME WHEN IT COMES TO THE WELFARE OF MY CHILDREN!!!!!
One hour later, car arrives. One hour later we are at Concorde Hospital. One of the top Burns Units in the country. Now you would think by now we’ve passed the worst and have only positive ahead of us.
Dr Kleiner is the Director of the Burns Unit. How did we have him waiting for us. He’s the husband of a woman who my brothers in laws niece works with 🙂 6 degrees!
He examines her. His face doesn’t look positive. How do I know. I’m focused on his reaction. It was not good.
She would probably be scarred. For life. She should have come back to Australia immediately. Why didn’t she you ask? Ask the insurance company. they wanted a doctors report, which would take 45 days, before they would make any decisions!!!! They never sent a doctor to examine her. I could go on about all the issues I faced with them but I shant. Remember, no sympathy wanted. No recriminations to be made. It’s in the past.
She was an inpatient for a week. Two visitors at a time. Scrubbed, gowned and masked. Then started a course of 3 times per week to the hospital for bandage changes, check ups etc. We live 1 hour 15 mins from that hospital. How did we handle it, music, talking and laughter. Yup. We laughed…… We sang……We cried.
You may be asking…how on earth could you laugh, sing when you’re going through this. Well, we’re a tough breed in my family. I have a strength that, when you get to know me, you will see. My daughters have that strength, loads of it. Where does it come from????
One simple word GOD! I can do all things through Christ who lives in me. That was my “mantra” through all this. In addition Jeremiah 29:11. Google it! 🙂
And therein ends Susan’s Blog # 1 “Where the Crap Began”
Thanks for your patience. I shall return with #2 No idea when 🙂