I have confidence in sunshine, I have confidence in rain… Part 2

Sorry for the delay, the silly season got the better of my organisational skills!  So here are the final 5 steps for improving confidence including one bonus one for lateness!

6.  Treat yourself.  A bit like number 5 but also a little different.  You need to feel loved and special and if that means treating yourself to a massage, spa treatment, shopping trip, day off, holiday, puppy cuddles, sleeping in or something else you’ve been wanting to do for ages but didn’t have the time or didn’t think it was important enough – just do it!  Yep, we’re using the Nike slogan but that’s because it’s good!

7.  Learn to say NO!  This one is a pretty big undertaking and rather important.  If you have been pushed around and taken advantage of for years it can be hard to change the trend.  If you need a bit of help the issue has been addressed in many movies – ‘27 dresses’ is one of my favourites for this!  It may not sound difficult to a lot of people but it can be, think back to number 5 and remember to put yourself up there on your list of priorities.  Start with something small and simple and work your way up from there.

8.  Express yourself.  A lot of us often find that in the heat of the moment we have trouble saying exactly what we want to say to people who have upset us – this is completely normal!  It’s hard to say exactly what you want to say when emotion is involved, it’s way too easy to get caught up and forget your words!  So take a step back, think about it for a while and then come back and say what you have to say.  There is nothing wrong with re-addressing an issue later down the track once the heat has gone out of it.  Think clearly and concisely about exactly what it is that you want to say; exactly what you are upset about and why or what you want to talk about and why.  Try to separate the person from the action, it is very important so they do not feel like they are being unfairly targeted and respond in kind which can result in a bit of a kick to your confidence.  Emotive statements are great for getting across how you feel without sounding like you’re attacking the other person – for example; I feel sad/angry/hurt/offended when … happens/when you… so I feel offended when I believe there is racial prejudice going on at work.  And use specific examples.  It is important for people to understand how their actions impact on you – they may be completely unaware they are having any effect on you whatsoever if you never say they are.

9.  Practice, practice, practice.  Who hasn’t heard that one before!  Well it is important, the more you work at something the easier it becomes and the better you get at it.  You don’t have to suddenly throw yourself in the deep end, build up to it slowly and instead of avoiding situations of conflict, public speaking or other situations that make you nervous expose yourself to them slowly and make sure you’re prepared – not over prepared because then it is just as likely that you’ll keep getting prepared, be convinced you’re never prepared enough and then not do it!  Whenever I have to perform or speak in public, or even answer a question in a meeting or class I still feel a flutter of nerves but the more often I do it the easier it becomes.  12 months ago I went on a cruise with friends and there was a karaoke competition.  The first song I performed I couldn’t feel my legs – that used to happen to me a lot and I realised that I was just out of practice.  By the final round several days later I was dancing on stage during a musical interlude in my song (and I didn’t even know the song).  Practice, practice, practice!!

10.  Don’t sweat the small stuff!  Kinda along the same lines as ‘stop second-guessing yourself, point 4).  Lets face it, confidence goes hand in hand with stress and that little voice in the back of your head that worries about everything; what people think, what they say, whether you made the right choice, whether you are going to make the right choice and so on.  The saying ‘don’t sweat the small stuff’ is very appropriate but I prefer ‘don’t stress about the things you can’t change and focus on what you can’.  You can’t change the weather, you can’t make your tram run on time, once you submit that completed application you can’t make them pick you.  AND if you paint something the wrong colour you can always change it later, if you take a wrong turn you can always retrace your steps.

11.  (A bonus one!)  No one can do it for you!  No one is going to make your decisions for you, if someone stands up to someone else for you it’s not really going to solve your problem and make you feel better and when you do you’ll feel great in the long run (admittedly the first couple of times you might feel a little ill from the nerves and adrenaline but after that passes you can congratulate yourself!).

There are many situations out there that can affect your confidence and courage and many types of situations that can do the same.  Bullies range in severity from those who physically bail people up for money etc to those friends who unknowingly wax lyrical about a particular issue they feel very strongly about ad nauseum without realising they are making others uncomfortable or upset or just plain annoyed.  Taking this on, sticking up for yourself, questioning unfair treatment by others and making yourself heard can be difficult; particularly if it is not something you are accustomed to doing for whatever reason.

For me, many of the experiences I had growing up that shaped the person I am today were also completely confidence shattering and it took a long time to recover.  To put it briefly – a lot of shit happened and I learned from it because I was able to, because that is the person I am and the view I have but not everyone is the same.  I hate the saying ‘what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger’; it’s ridiculous.  Tell that to a victim of abuse, someone who has had to flee their country to avoid persecution and left their family behind, a mother who has had to bury her child or someone suffering from PTSD.  It’s not helpful in the moment so just don’t say it.  Some things that are hard we can learn from, we can become resilient.  But sometimes, some people just break and they’re allowed to, sometimes shit just happens and there is no sense in it and nothing good to learn. Humans are resilient but most of us can’t do it on our own, I couldn’t and there is no shame in asking for help.  The most important thing to do, the very fist step to becoming confident and happy is to be brave and say ‘I CAN’.


I have confidence in me!

Over the past few days I have had several conversations with a close friend on the issue of confidence – or more specifically a lack thereof and how to improve it.  That got me thinking; there are a lot of people out there similarly afflicted who have no idea how to go about boosting their confidence.  So I thought I would write about it and my journey from the quiet, shy, self-loathing child I was to the (reasonably) confident and happy person I am today.  That being said I still have my moments of self-doubt and fear but I am better able to manage or ignore them and get on with my life!  One of the best songs ever written about confidence would have to be ‘I have confidence’ by Rodgers and Hammerstein in The Sound of Music particularly when performed by Julie Andrews (hence the title of this post).

In the beginning of a journey to confidence courage and confidence are paired, after that stage courage is more linked to happiness – happiness with your life, where you are in it and who you are as a person.  Courage is so much more than becoming a superhero – risking your life for others, doing something dangerous.  Courage is different for everyone.  It takes courage to try something new whether that is sky diving or changing your hair colour.  It takes courage to stand up for what you believe in whether that means being arrested fighting your cause or telling someone you care about that they are smothering you (in some ways this takes more courage). There is a lot out there about courage ranging from Eleanor Roosevelt’s famous quote; ‘Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgement that something is more important than fear’ to the song ‘I whistle a happy tune’ from the Rodgers and Hammerstein production of The King and I.  Then there is always Strictly Ballroom’s ‘A life lived in fear is a life half lived’.

Thinking through what I’ve learned over the years showed a number of steps and I have tried to write them down as succinctly as possible.  Here are the first 5 with 5 more to follow in a future post – all together would make a mammoth post and it is also a lot to take in at once!

1.  Know you’re awesome.  Make a list titled ‘why I’m awesome’ and fill it with all the things you like about yourself, all the things that make you an individual, all the things that make you awesome.  It can be anything from ‘I have green eyes’ to ‘I told Paul Smith to piss off in primary school when he was being mean to me’ to ‘I got an A on my English work in year 5’ or ‘I have perfect teeth’, ‘I mastered turn-around toe stops in one day’, ‘I speak more than one language’, ‘I travelled overseas’, ‘I am a safe driver’, ‘I have amazing friends who love me for who I am’ and ‘I cook a mean lasagne’.  It doesn’t matter what is on that list as long as it’s something you feel good about.  If you need help ask your friends and family, I’m sure they’ll be happy to oblige.  Here’s some inspiring music

2.  Act confident.  I know it sounds cheesy (don’t we all love a good dose of cheese?) but if you act more confident than you feel on the inside people will begin to think you are confident and will treat you accordingly.  After a while you will begin to believe it too.  This works in the short term but after a while you will need something more solid to work with which is where the rest of the points come in!

3.  Be comfortable in your skin.  If you are happy with the way you look you are more likely to feel confident about yourself.  No, really!  Remember that time you wore that outfit that you weren’t sure about that someone talked you into wearing and you spent the whole event feeling self-conscious and hiding near the wall watching that person in the amazing outfit that oozed confidence and looked like they were having the time of their life?  Yeah, see?!  It is highly unlikely that everyone will ever be completely happy with every part of his or her appearance so work with what you are happy with.  You may have a gorgeous smile, lovely legs, nice arms, beautiful hair, pretty dainty feet that can fit any shoe, a graceful neck that flatters any jewellery, fabulous taste in clothes, a left elbow that people come from miles around to see or a right shoulder blade that is the talk of the town.  Whatever it is it is yours so be proud of it.  If you feel you need a bit of help there are wonderful books out there on how to dress to flatter your figure – try Trinny and Susanna’s what you wear can change your life or similar books.  If you’re concerned about not being able to do makeup properly to enhance the right features book a makeover with a respected salon or makeup company.  Or if you really want a complete overhaul there are always image consultants and image development courses that can teach you all that and more.  Everyone is different so find what works for you.  When you’re happy with how you look on the outside you’ll feel more confident on the inside and always remember the words of Lady Gaga – ‘I’m beautiful in my way ‘cause god makes no mistakes, I’m on the right track baby I was born this way’.  Whether you believe in God or not or enjoy her music or not is beside the point really, the words are good!

4.  Stop second-guessing yourself.  Make a decision and stick to it, don’t agonise over it for days afterwards and beat yourself up for making the wrong choice.  Once you’ve made it that’s it, there’s no going back.  Not to say you can’t consider it properly but set aside a certain amount of time to do it, think clearly; weigh up the pros and cons and how your choice makes you feel.  If you feel you have made the wrong decision, make a different one next time but stop stressing about it now!  The saying ‘don’t sweat the small stuff’ if very appropriate but I prefer ‘don’t stress about the things you can’t change and focus on what you can’.

5.  Look out for number one.  Ok so it might seem a little selfish to some people but you are important.  One of the most important things I learned from my Camino is that nobody can walk it for you, just like nobody can live your life for you so you have to be in a position to do that – you have to be well enough and happy enough.  If that means just dropping by a gathering instead of staying for hours because you feel you should when you’re exhausted and stressed then so be it.  If it means picking up a cake from a bakery instead of making it yourself cause you ran out of time then so be it. If you’re stressed, run down, unhappy and exhausted by your life then make some changes – you can’t be happy that way and happiness affects confidence.

I hope this has been helpful to anyone seeking some hints on boosting their confidence.  It’s not an overnight change and takes some work but at least this is a start!  The 5 remaining steps will follow shortly 🙂

November is over!

It’s the first of December, that means November is officially over and the Christmas month has started!  That also means that NaNoWriMo is also over and while I didn’t reach the targeted 50,000 words I am very happy with what I did achieve in what has turned out to be one of the busiest months of the year for me!  Here’s a brief synopsis and I hope you’re as excited as me over what I’ve been able to do this month after months of being virtually house-bound.

  • Wrote around 30% of the target for NaNoWriMo (while not 50,000 words it’s still quite a few!)
  • Had 5 market stalls
  • Made over 50 hair clips
  • Made over 30 headbands
  • Had 6 physio appointments
  • One specialist appointment
  • 2 Mickel therapy appointments
  • Dinner with friends 4 times
  • Lunch with friends 3 times
  • 2 St John’s divisional meetings
  • 3 St John’s shifts (2 on one day finishing at 12am)
  • Saw KD Lang in concert (as a St John’s volunteer)
  • Got my hair cut
  • Picked up my little bro from the airport after his 5 month overseas adventure
  • Saw my personal trainer 4 times
  • Went to a Christmas party
  • Saw part of an international roller derby bout (while I was having a market stall)
  • Celebrated with friends at an engagement party
  • Got a tattoo to commemorate my Camino

So yes, I may not have reached the goal of 50,000 words but I decided that it really didn’t matter as I could do so many more exciting things during the month and when you have been out of action for so long that is really the main thing!  Right now I couldn’t be happier though I still have my wobbly days and occasional random tachycardia.  It turns out that my HR was the lowest I’ve measured it at in ages yesterday during the tattoo process – go figure!  Whether it’s the Mickel therapy, the change in doses for Midodrine and Fludrocortisone, being relaxed and happy or a combination of all of the above that is helping the healing along (who really knows!), the important thing is that it’s happening and I’m well and truly on the road to recovery – with the occasional few steps backwards of course.

Here’s a picture of my tattoo – the photo isn’t great and colour isn’t quite right yet but of course I have to wait until it settles down a bit and finishes peeling and healing before we can really tell what it’s going to look like.  Who knows, one day I may get a yellow arrow to go with it but for now I am very happy with my scallop shell and the tattooist was fantastic.  He worked with me for over an hour trying to get the design right before we started and proved to be a great guy and entertaining conversational companion throughout.  For anyone looking to get a tattoo and can travel to Port Melbourne or Chapel St I highly recommend Victims of Ink.

50k for awareness/NaNoWriMo – now it’s not so complicated!

‘Oh thank God for that!’  Kaitlin exclaimed when they picked up Sarah the next day for their holiday and she told them what had happened the night before.  ‘So does that mean you’re getting rid of him for good?  I hope so, never liked him anyway and that means there will be 3 of us single for this cruise not just 2!’
‘Well thanks for telling me earlier!’  Sarah laughed, ‘you could have saved me a lot of time and effort.’  Viv gave her a hug around the passenger seat ‘and we haven’t technically broken up so a holiday romance would be considered cheating I guess’
‘You’ve always got us hon, we’re so much nicer, more awesome and far better looking that Pete!’ she grinned.  Sarah laughed again
‘What a dick!’  Cried Cath ‘his loss anyway, you’re far too amazing for him and besides, Viv is right, you have 3 awesome mates who love you heaps and know exactly how great you are.  That and, if you’re going to break up with him when you get back and you’re sure he feels the same way then is there really a problem if you find someone nice on the boat?’
‘Thanks ladies!’  Sarah grinned ‘I know I can always count on you to be confusing! I guess I’ll address the question of holiday romance if it comes up.  But yeah, I dunno, I guess my relationship with Pete had just run its course but it’s pretty frustrating to know I spent so much time and effort for nothing.  I almost wish I hadn’t.’
‘You can’t say that!’  Kaitlin interjected ‘he did have some redeeming features’
‘Like what?’ Cath laughed ‘I don’t recall seeing any!’
‘Well you obviously didn’t see him from behind then’ Kaitlin winked ‘his best angle was walking away!’  They laughed
‘Oh yeah, I did notice but John’s is better’ Cath said faithfully
‘You always say that Cath’ Viv laughed
‘Can’t help it if my hubby is everything I find sexy in this world!’ Cath stuck out her tongue at Vivienne
‘I think we might just have to agree to disagree on that one…’ Kaitlin replied ‘now, which ramp do I have to drive up for domestic departures?’  They had reached the airport.

After an unusually fast check-in, airport shopping and boarding they were on their way.  Sitting 2 in front and 2 behind on the side of the plane they could chat with ease.  ‘What about that guy Steve?’ asked Viv sitting in the seat next to Sarah; ‘he was nice and you guys seemed to have a lot to talk about at my party a few months ago!’
‘Yeah, no.’  She replied quickly.  ‘Firstly – I’m not ready to jump straight into another relationship, secondly – Pete and I haven’t actually officially broken up, and finally that guy was a ‘wounded bird collector’.’
“What’s that mean?’ Asked Kaitlin from the seat in front
‘Meaning he was one of those guys who wants someone to take care of, so he can feel like his role as the big protective man is being validated and satisfy his need to be needed.  He’s not the first one I’ve met and I don’t need that!  I want someone to want to be with me because they love me and appreciate my good qualities enough to ignore my bad ones, not because they feel sorry for me and want to take care of me.  That’s not enough!’
‘You mean there are people out there like that?’  Cath asked ‘how bizarre!’
‘Yeah, you’d be surprised!  Their eyes change when you tell them about your being unwell and how it impacts on your life, I mean, everyone reacts differently but it’s odd, they get more interested, ask so many questions, call you ‘poor thing’ and ‘so brave’ and all that.  I just want to be treated like a normal person!  Sympathy is fine and all that but it’s not my whole life, I am a person separate from my illness, it’s not my life and I don’t like to be identified like that!’
‘Ok then, we’ll just have to find you someone on the cruise with as good a rear view as Pete, if not better, who isn’t a complete ass and doesn’t treat you like an invalid.  Shouldn’t be too hard, how many thousands of people does the boat hold?’
‘We may have some luck if they’re not all over 50!’  Kaitlin giggled ‘and who knows, I’m not looking to settle down and get married or anything like that, but a holiday fling might be nice!’  They laughed and agreed.

Pete was waiting for her when she got home two weeks later.  They hadn’t spoken while she was on the boat, partly because her phone had no signal on the open water and partly because she was having too good a time to bother.  At first Sarah had thought she was alone.  Walking through the front door in the dim half-light of twilight the house appeared to be in darkness.  She called out his name and was met with silence.  Her throat was getting more sore by the minute, talking was an effort and she could feel a cold coming on.  She sighed and lugged her suitcase down the hallway.  The 2 weeks away had been wonderful but someone on the boat had brought a bad cold with them and by the time they pulled into port on the last day a considerable proportion of the passengers and crew had come down with it.  Sarah had avoided it for 2 weeks but woke that morning with a headache, sore throat and feeling a little under the weather.  As she got closer to the kitchen she saw there was a light on so she left her suitcase in the hallway and wandered in.  Pete was sitting at the kitchen table with a beer bottle resting between his hands on the table.  He looked up and gave her a wry smile.  ‘Have fun?’ he asked and continued quickly, not giving her time to reply.  ‘I’ve had a lot of time to think over the last week, I’ve talked it over with mates and my brother and I’ve decided.’  He paused for effect but there was no point, she knew what was coming and had come to the same decision herself.  It had been a busy couple of weeks and there hadn’t been much spare time to think it over between swimming, bingo, cocktail parties, themed nights, island visits, sunbathing and re-enacting the famous Kate and Leo on the prow of the boat scene from Titanic but she realised early on that she didn’t really need much anyway.  She had already made her decision.
‘Before you continue Pete, I have something to say’
‘No!’ he interjected quickly and passionately, slamming his bottle down on the table for emphasis; ‘you’re going to hear what I have to say first!’  She sighed and sat down
‘Whatever.  Go for it’

‘I can’t stand it, I’ve had enough and I’m moving out.’
‘Well that was straightforward, to say the least’ she said bluntly.
‘It’s not you, it’s me.  I thought I could cope but I can’t, it’s too hard’
‘Wow, that one was original Pete, think of that all by yourself did you?’
‘Gah, you’re so frustrating!  Actually, you know what, it is you.  We never go anywhere or do anything because of you, because you’re either too tired or working or whatever.  I want to do things; I don’t want to be stuck at home all the time.  I can’t live like that and neither should you.  For the last year I’ve watched you deteriorate from the happy, fun person you were to this, whatever you are now.  I know you can do more than you do, I’ve seen you do more, you just don’t have as much faith in yourself as I do.  Just suck it up and go for it.  There are times when you can do heaps, usually when you’re on holiday.  Maybe you just don’t like work, I don’t know!  Maybe you just don’t want to live in the real world where people have responsibilities, have full time jobs, mortgages, and families – they struggle yeah but at least they try.  I know you genuinely do get sick but have you ever thought that maybe you’re making yourself sick?  Maybe it’s all in your head.  Maybe if you just ignored it and kept on going you’d be fine.  You’re so negative all the time; maybe if you just thought differently you’d kick this.  So do me a favour yeah, when I leave, when I’m packed up and all that, don’t mope around the house feeling sorry for yourself.  Don’t make everyone else feel sorry for you.  Don’t be the martyr saying you don’t need help and all that bullshit while you visibly fall apart just for the attention – grow up and get yourself a life.’
‘Wow, that’s just great, thanks Pete.  ‘Suck it up and go for it?  Grow up and get yourself a life?’  That’s about as helpful as that time someone told me to ‘just get a good night’s sleep’ to cure Chronic Fatigue.  I thought you understood what I was going through, what all this meant for me; how it impacted on my life but obviously I was wrong.  If you think that I don’t try, that I let it get the better of me, that I chose to be like this then you obviously don’t know me at all and that makes me sad.  To think I spent the last year of my life with you and you don’t even understand me a little bit – that’s depressing!  And you know what, I’m not even going to try explaining myself to you because you obviously have your opinion firmly set and nothing I say will change that.’  She stood up from the table.  ‘If you need me I’ll be at mum’s.  Take all the time you want packing up your things but make sure you don’t take anything of mine or leave anything of yours behind – I don’t particularly want to see you any time soon.’  She turned to leave
‘Is that it?’  He cried ‘a whole year of being together, 6 months of living together and that’s it?  You don’t even care!  Man, why did I bother!’
‘No Pete, that’s not true, I do care and thank you for the times you helped me, the times you did care, and thanks for trying to understand for a bit.  Someday you’ll make some uncomplicated and undemanding woman very happy but I don’t need someone like you in my life now or ever so no; I’m not completely distraught at your decision, I had come to the same conclusion myself.’
‘I knew it! You’re making it all about you’
‘But Pete, you said it was about me!’  She turned and left.  It wasn’t hard, her suitcase was already packed from the holiday and while she wouldn’t require the cocktail dresses, bathers and jewellery at her mothers place there were clothes and pyjamas that would do for the time being.


This keeping up the numbers bit is hard, why is this coinciding with what seems to be my busiest month of the year?  On the plus side I’m doing really well, the Mickel therapy is doing good things for my CFS and changing around the doses of the Fludrocortisone and midodrine seems to be working well – fingers crossed it continues to do so!

50k for awareness/NaNoWriMo – it’s complicated

‘Well you have been in the wars!’  Announced Dr Caldwell as he looked over her recent notes 2 days after her emergency visit.  ‘I understand you saw Dr Harman last week and this week you had a visit to Northside emergency department, what happened there?’  Sarah described her episode of dizziness and other symptoms and subsequent visit to the emergency department in detail.  Dr Caldwell nodded and exclaimed throughout.  ‘Well now, that would have been frustrating.  And what does your mother say about all this?’
‘She told me she actually has a couple of patients who have had the same thing recently and has heard of others, there seems to be a virus going around but that stupid doctor was so convinced it was anything other than something he’d actually have to bother himself with there was really no point in my being there.’
‘That is interesting, I have also heard of something similar going around so that might just be it.  And of course you’ve been so unwell lately and have a tendency to be susceptible to things I guess it’s not really unexpected that something else would come along.  It’s irritating nonetheless!  And how is Dr Simmonds going with your immune function testing?’  Sarah brought him up to date on the progress of her newest round of tests and scans that the immunologist had ordered.  ‘So he thinks it is quite likely that your recurrent sinus infections are the result of this deficiency in Immunoglobulin levels?  Interesting!  I guess that would explain it quite well and it would be great to be finally getting somewhere.’
‘It certainly would’ Sarah sighed, ‘it’s just so frustrating having no answers but all the evidence that there is something going on that’s not right!  Unfortunately there’s so much protocol in place for this test because the only treatment for this type of immune deficiency is an infusion of gammaglobulin, which is a human blood product and has to be released from the blood bank.  They can’t synthesise it like they can with some hormones.’
‘Yes of course, and then you have to consider the risks of having a transfusion of human blood products, there is always the possibility that there are things out there that we don’t have the technology to detect yet – I mean look what has happened in the past with CJD, hepatitis and AIDS.  It’s a tough decision, have you thought much about it?’
‘I have a bit’ she replied slowly, ‘I don’t know, I feel I’m prepared to try almost anything so I can get my life back.  It’s been 7 years now and this is the only real lead we’ve gotten.  I know it won’t solve everything but if it can just stop me from getting these infections all the time that throw any improvement back in my face it would be worth it.’  She sighed ‘and yes, I am aware of the dangers, I studied virology as part of my degree before I did nursing.’

‘Talk me through the process Sarah’ Dr Caldwell asked, ‘where are you up to and what is left to do?’  She took a deep breath.
‘Well, The first step is the initial blood test to see if the results are significant enough to warrant further investigation, the results of that can take up to a month to come back because it is only ever done when there are enough samples to warrant it and not many people have this test.  When my results came back there were two sub-types of Immunoglobulin G that I am deficient in and they are the ones that are often found to be deficient in people with recurrent infections.  The second step is a long-term course of antibiotics – 6 months, which I have 2 more months to go on.  After that, if there are still infections despite the antibiotics there is a vaccination.  Then 4 weeks after the vaccination, after your body has had time to build up antibodies to it, there is another one of those month-long blood tests and if the results are significant I then have to wait for the blood bank to approve the release of the immunoglobulin infusion.  If they do, I then have to have it every month or so for a year or longer at around a grand a pop!’
‘Wow’ he said quietly, ‘that is a lot to take in’
‘Ha!’ she laughed bitterly, ‘you’re telling me!  And this is why I desperately need to keep my job.  Dr Harman’s medical certificate was inadequate, it did not contain the information my employer required and it was slightly insulting to boot.’
‘Oh dear!’ he exclaimed, ‘well he did insist on writing them himself’, did the appointment go well otherwise?’
‘Let me just say Dr Harman and I will never see eye to eye on anything I don’t think!’  She grinned
‘Oh dear me!  Well let’s get this sorted and then it’s one less thing you have to worry about!  The certificate I gave you last time allowed you to reduce your fortnightly shifts from 9 to 7, lets bring it down to 5 and include a bit about those late-early shift combinations that seem to affect your health so much.  Hopefully whoever is doing your rosters will take note of that and you’ll be able to work to the end of your contract in a few months and then hopefully you’ll have picked up enough to either get it renewed or find something else.’
‘Sounds great Dr Caldwell, and what is even more great is that in a few days I get to go on a cruise holiday with a bunch of friends to some sunny and gorgeous islands in the pacific!  Pete can’t come but we’re going to have a fantastic time anyway.  My contract expires two weeks after I return but for a week at least I get to forget about it!’

She left the doctors clinic feeling more positive about her situation than she had for months but it didn’t last very long.  She was able to fax her medical certificate in to work but had to take more days off to recover from the virus she had come down with.  It took nearly 2 weeks for the dizziness and fatigue to reduce to a level that meant she was able to work again.  The new roster was faxed to her and the first thing she noticed was that out of the 5 shifts she now had in the next coming fortnight four of them were a pm-am shift combination – something that Dr Caldwell had specifically requested against in her certificate.  She was filled with disappointment and a growing sense that her contract was not likely to be renewed after all.

Needing some support and constructive advice she attempted to talk it over with Pete;  ‘you know how I feel about all of this Sares.’  He replied with a sigh, ‘I hate it; I hate how our lives have changed, how it makes us feel, how it dictates what we can and can’t do.  I can’t stand it.  We used to go out and have fun, hell, we used to BE fun!  Now we’re lucky if we get out once a month and you’re always too tired or whatever to stay long whenever we do anyway!’
‘Yeah thanks Pete, that’s actually not what I was talking about but hey, thanks for your support anyway.’  She snapped and walked off.

He found her in their slightly overgrown garden, sitting on the picnic table.  ‘I’m sorry’ he sat down beside her ‘I am, I just don’t know how much more of it I can take.’  Tears sprang to her eyes and she turned her head away from him so he couldn’t see.
‘You don’t have to take it; you don’t have to take anything!  You don’t have to wake up every day feeling like you need about a thousand hours more sleep, you don’t have to struggle every minute just to remain upright, you don’t have to eat tonnes of sugar and caffeine just because it might possibly compensate ever so slightly for the energy or concentration that you’re lacking and you don’t have to watch your 20’s, supposedly the best years of your life, pass you by without being able to do a thing about it.  You can go out, I’m not stopping you.  You don’t have to stay here all the time just because you feel sorry for me; you know how much I hate that.  I’m not some wounded bird that needs wrapping in cotton wool, I have an illness, it affects my life and what I can do with it but I’m not broken Pete, and I have a mother, you don’t need to do that!  Just because I can’t do things doesn’t mean you don’t have to.  How many times do I have to tell you that?  I know it’s hard for you too Pete but it doesn’t mean you have to give up your life too!’  She looked into his eyes.
‘Yeah I know’ he looked at his hands ‘I want to share it with you, you know?  You’re my girl.  You’re smart, funny and beautiful and I want the world to see that, it kills me to see you locked up in the house, a prisoner to your own body.  I want to help you, to take it all away.  You were sick when we met but I didn’t care.  Your courage touched my heart, you’re so special and amazing and yeah, I did feel a bit sorry for you and I could see you needed help too, help I was more than happy to give you.  But Sarah, even though I love you so much I don’t know how much more I can give.’
‘Does that mean you are just here because you feel sorry for me.’
‘Don’t be ridiculous!’  He snapped ‘you’re such a martyr, all the time, it drives me crazy!’  He jumped up from the table ‘look, you’re going away on that cruise tomorrow, I think that’s great, it’ll give us both some time to think.  In fact I might head over to my brothers place tonight and stay there for a few days too.  There’s a game on this evening and he’s having a few mates over for drinks and a barbeque.  It’ll be good to get out, this house is stifling.’  And with that he stormed inside.  She could hear him stomping around the house and 5 minutes later the front door slammed.  It was then she realised she hadn’t tried to stop him.


I’ve been a bit slack with my writing over the last few days so really have to step up the pace…
Hope you enjoyed the latest instalment!

Previous Older Entries Next Newer Entries

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 12 other followers

Twitter Updates

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

%d bloggers like this: