You know how it is: you go to the doctor, and they ask you what you eat, drink, smoke, and take, and you’re not entirely honest. The experience of the last few months has made me far more open and honest about everything, and not in the slightest embarrassed.
For example, this morning I said to the occupational therapist, “This is my bed, and this is my urine bottle.” “And how often do you use it?”, Anna replied. “Usually only once,” I told her, noting that it was mostly about 3:30 in the morning.
From there, we went into the bathroom where I demonstrated how I would take a shower (with a supportive stool), have a bowel movement (including the actions involved in wiping my bum), and then get up and down.
Before this all happened, I could never imagine the honesty and intimacy I would need to share with strangers. But it’s been a week of that with a number of visits and appointments.
“Do you have much fatigue? How many hours can you have in the community at a time?”, Anna further asked. The answer is about two or three hours at a time, I told her honestly. After one of the outings this week, I came home and needed a nap. But that’s probably not so different from before? :)
“You sound like you’re very well organized,” Anna noted, when I talked about my routines. A few people I’ve encountered over the last few months have said the same, and they’ve all smiled in reply when I’ve told them my job is as a Planning Manager.
I’m already thinking ahead to referendum voting day, and sent an email to my local voting booth, at the Bourke Street Primary School, with a view to understanding if they will have a “sausage sizzle”, one of my favourite parts of elections.
To my relief, the reply came back, with “The P&C will be running a BBQ on referendum day. As we have our big school fete on 29 October, it will only be a BBQ as they’re saving up their energy for the fete. Maybe that’s an excuse for two outings?”
In the next week, I have a few more appointments for which I’ll also be assisted by my support workers who come in twice a week for three hours at a time.
Applying for a disability parking permit
On Monday, we’ll attempt (for the second time) to visit Service NSW at Haymarket to apply for a disability parking permit. Even though amputations are a legitimate reason to apply for a permit, I’ve been told things have “tightened up” in the last eighteen months. “The assumption is that if you have a prosthetic limb you should be okay to get around by yourself”, one doctor told me. We both agreed that didn’t take into account the days when I’ll be in a wheelchair, unable to wear my prosthetic, or after hours of fatigue. Fingers crossed it will be okay.
Meetings with friends
Next week, even with my prosthetic limb, I’ll still be in a wheelchair for a couple of lunch/dinner meetings I have with friends. The key issues remain both fatigue, and uneven footpaths.
I’m still planning the logistics around lunchtime. It’s an annual catchup with some current and former colleagues, which is usually a fairly boozy affair. I might have a glass or two myself, though nowhere near as much as I would previously. I don’t really want to impose on my friends, so I’m trying to work out the best way to get to and from the venue.