“It appears you could use a hand. May I help you?” a compassionate woman inquired when she noticed my struggle while crossing the street between St. Vincent’s Hospital and the Garvan Institute.
Finding parking in the vicinity of the hospital can be quite challenging. So, I suggested to my support worker that he drop me off at the hospital entrance, and I’d manage the rest of the journey on my own, following the sloping footpath between the two buildings. The descent was smooth, but halfway across the road, the amber lights started flashing, leaving me stranded, and a little panicked..
I never got a glimpse of the woman who came to my aid, as she approached me from behind, helped me complete my journey, and then quietly disappeared when the staff at the Garvan Institute took over. Although I expressed my gratitude, I wish I could have conveyed my heartfelt thanks through my eyes. If, by chance, you happen to be reading this, please accept my further thanks.
For future reference, there is wheelchair-accessible parking available outside the building I needed to visit for my appointment with the diabetic specialist.
“You might recall me from the hospital,” he remarked, adding, “but you were in quite a dire condition back then.” He reflected on the remarkably high blood sugar level I had upon entering the hospital. While the normal blood sugar range falls between 5 and 10, my reading was a staggering 78. “You could have easily slipped into a coma,” he cautioned.
He expressed satisfaction with my progress and mentioned that he was pleased to reduce my twice-daily insulin doses. He also discussed the possibility of exploring other medications down the road.
I had a moment of reflection a few weeks ago when I contemplated the dietary changes required due to my diabetes, including cutting back on alcohol consumption. I used to indulge in daily wine consumption, far too much really.
Though I had previously contemplated complete abstinence, I’ve chosen the path of moderation. “You can enjoy a glass of wine, just not the whole bottle,” one of the medical staff advised me a few weeks ago.
This week week began with a series of appointments, including a visit to the diabetic specialist, my local doctor, and meetings with the prosthetist, physiotherapist, and cleaners.
All of these appointments are covered by the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
In contrast to those with “less obvious” disabilities, it’s clear that you don’t need as much evidence to support an NDIS claim when you have an amputation and your initial meeting occurs in a hospital setting.
With a self-managed plan, I’ve also been able to purchase items like a wheelchair independently and then claim reimbursement afterward. This stands in stark contrast to individuals with significantly lower incomes, and less “privilege” than I enjoy as someone who is fairly affluent, self-confident, and generally able to make their way around bureaucracy.
As you’ll see from media reports and social media chat groups, not everyone has been as fortunate as me in their dealings with the NDIS, but so far for me its been okay.
This week I have a couple of work-related meetings on the agenda, mostly about my return to work plans. At present, the plan is for part-time work from the beginning of November, allowing me to continue with specuialist appointments. The plan is for me to return to full-time work at the beginning of next year.