A little over a year ago I was working out of a beach shack in Goa and hastily decided to dash back to Australia to ride out the emerging pandemic. Sure, I’m a bit of a risk taker, but it just wasn’t practical to risk staying there on the visa I had. I had to leave and come back within a couple of months, but who would take me, and would India let me back in? Some thought I was too hasty and should stay.
As a precaution, I decided Rob and I would be all packed and stay at that same Holiday Inn by the airport to make sure we didn’t have a repeat of either my trip over, or the Thailand debacle (responsible for me now travelling on a 12 month temporary passport issued in Bangkok without the appropriate visas in it). The best way I can describe Rob in a sentence is a fine looking English hippy who was completely useless to travel with despite being a seasoned traveller.
“Oh!” the lady at the check in counter exclaimed after taking some time searching on her computer. “Your travel agent should be shot.” “What is it?” my mother asked. “There is this tiny sticker on the top corner of the ticket,” she said looking at me. “I understand why you didn’t see it. They changed your flight. Your flight to Sydney left from the domestic terminal an hour ago. There is no room on this plane and I can’t see any way you can connect with your international flight to Japan today.”
I fractured my right pelvis ring in three places and would be in traction in hospital for around six weeks. That is, I would lie on my back in bed, not able to get up, even to go to the bathroom the ENTIRE time. FABULOUS! Oh the dignity of it all. I still had tubes, wires, and drips attached to all different parts of my body, I was heavily sedated, and couldn’t move. I could open my eyes and talk now, so I could communicate by more than just body convulsions as I went into shock, as I did the previous day when my mother expressed her displeasure at my irresponsibility.
“Oh my God, it’s Claire,” she said. She realised some boys had bought me up from falling off something. She had no idea how many hours or even minutes had passed since we had gotten there. She was absolutely terrified and had no idea what to do. Someone had called an ambulance which arrived shortly after. I was alive but unconscious. Was I in a coma? Was I paralysed? Was I going to come out of this? It was all incomprehensible to Felicity.
I opened my eyes and there was just white. My mind wasn’t there, just white light. Then, these shadowy shapes slowly started to appear. They were floating in slow motion. “Claire. Claire. Do you know where you are?” I heard a reassuring woman’s voice say to me. “You’re in hospital.” I could hear it in real-time but my mind was in slow motion. Huh? I had no voice.
While Christmas and New Years are supposed to be a time for joy, celebrating with friends, giving, and receiving, for many it can be incredibly stressful, exhausting, and even lonely. Whether it is the pressures at work of getting everything done by Christmas, work Christmas parties, spending time with difficult relatives, having the perfectly decorated house, buying the best gifts for your kids and relatives, or perhaps even not having anyone to share it with, there are things we can do to take care of ourselves and those around us this silly season.
Back in July I spoke with a couple of Americans who were traumatised by Donald Trump’s presidency, Dan and Katie* and a couple of Trump supporters, Gautham and Jeevan* about what they thought about the upcoming United States (US) Presidential Election. The election is over and Democrat candidate Joe Biden is the President Elect, unless you are Donald Trump and his inner circle who refuse to accept the result, so let’s hear Dan, Katie, Gautham, and Jeevan’s views now it is all (allegedly) over.
For some of us, the worst days of our lives are spent in hospital intensive care units (ICUs) or cancer wards, there either for ourselves or our loved ones. There are some heroes who have chosen to spend their days making those experiences the best they possibly can be for those of us who find ourselves there. A number of my friends are nurses, and after my last post Pondering death and what it all means I contacted two of them to ask them, quite simply, how the hell do they do it?
I don’t know why, but for the past couple of weeks I have been thinking about writing this article pondering death. I think it is the flippancy around COVID19 deaths bandied around by some leaders in the media but for whatever reason it has been niggling away. This can be a traumatic subject, so please take care when reading.