They thought I’d need care for life. Instead I’M the carer!

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3.30am and still awake, remembering the excitement of yesterday!!!!

Yesterday was a special day indeed for me, a day when dreams and thousands of little goals finally became reality!!!
I applied for a job in care in the community last week (not expecting to get it of course)
After my story confidence in the work force in a new career isn’t my strong point.

Would rather not mention where, but blow me down I got it!!! Well… part time hours to begin with, but anyway it’s the little break I needed.

The day started with smashing an assignment at my college, and then I got the unexpected phone call! The news was the best I’d had in months and welcomed by the whole community care group – me, from a “blink with no hope” to a job helping disabilities in the community!!!

Me !!! Wowhooooo!!!!!

39 and starting again wasn’t really my life’s plan of course – ha ha – but I’m so happy right now (if I was rich in money  couldn’t be happier.)
I have always considered myself an underdog of life- a struggling failure at school,  cancer, then stroke – but just lately I feel I can do anything!

I am not an underdog; I am a English-cum-Aussie pit bull of life. And I’m winning it back!
They thought I would need a high level of care for the rest of my life but, through my defiance I am gonna GIVE care for the rest of my life!! And I’m just getting started!

Never listen to what you’re told you can’t do: Can’t is as it says “Can with a ” T” for Told ya so!!!!!!”

Fat finger syndrome, but still strumming!

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Few believed I could hack the army.

I wasn’t sure I could beat cancer.

They said I may never recover from the stroke that left me paralysed, and even if I did, I’d need high care all my life.

Some laughed at me when I said I was going to write a book, with my poor writing and spelling skills.

I was told my fingers were too fat to play guitar.

This blog is to say in the politest way…..

BIG HAIRY BALLS!!!!!!

IF YOU WANT IT, AND YOU’RE PERSISTENT. GO AND PROVE ‘EM WRONG!!!

I’m still crap, but I’m still trying. So, never NEVER give up and, if you have a dream, keep kicking till you get results!

 

Not great, but listen here!

Taking the plunge! Back to school and learning new strokes.

 

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No matter how old I get, I still get anxious when it comes to classrooms. From pre-school to college, it never sits well; I would prefer to do anything else but paperwork!! Always been the same!!!

Tomorrow is my second semester at college. It was meant to be just 6 months, but I was struggling with the whole speed of things.

Focusing for 6 hours in class then homework n assignments, plus the odd presentation on body parts – I couldn’t keep up! I felt stupid!!! But I have to remember nobody else has been through what I have and come back from a coma, so I might be going back with new people. But I’m still trying to give it a crack.

After working at Aegis Retirement Home I’ve learned that an Occupational Therapy Assistant may not quite be the path for me, so I’m gonna try Disability next and gain volunteer experience there!

Either way, I need my Certificate 3 to move forward, and I must complete this bloody course!!!

God willing (& Pete willing) I WILL!

 

Batting back into the swing!

Peter tennis ball

I feel the need to document my rehab in the hope somebody somewhere might benefit. Although I’m pretty sure regular everyday people are sick of my ‘Eye’ on Facebook and how I write about stuff, I really wanted to share my new goal with you.

I’ve taken on a lot this last year: Guitar playing, study, trampolining – all quite impossible it seemed until I actually tried. No doubt about it, I’ve overcome massive MASSIVE challenges since waking from coma after the brainstem stroke which left me locked-in – from learning to breathe air again, swallowing, getting my eyes moving from left to right, bowel and prostate problems, eating food without choking to death, talking again, movement, walking, emotional control and so on and on and on…If you’ve read my book you’ll know all that!

But this is about my present stage and my latest goal that I really REALLY think is gonna be amazing for my rehab:

SWING BALL TENNIS!!!

Since my recovery began, I’ve tried many things to rehabilitate myself; most of which I’ve found (at least for me) were best on my own after hospital, as I don’t take to well to disciplined regimes – I need to take control Haha! Can’t help it.

This swing ball tennis is s-o-o-o hard after stroke; frustrating is too kind a word.

Gym, trampolining and walking can only do so much. For my arms I need reaction, speed and coordination back! So I’ve set myself up for some frustrating months ahead, it seems, the ball is so hard to hit. It Hits my knuckles more that the bat! But for improving my stance and strengthening my legs, hand, arm and eye-coordination, nothing comes close, I tell ya!

Best 12 dollars I’ve spent this year, I think!

Had to share this, as I know holding the bat on my bad side and gripping hard is still a challenge yet it will help for sure. So, if you’re at that stage of your rehab, feel ready for a challenge and can put up with the bruises, this is by far the swing ball to the next level! But please approach with caution until you get into the swing!!!

It’s hard, but I feel ready! And though I’m no Andy Murray (yet!) I’m convinced that trying will “set me free”!

Keep batting, strokies!

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Signing off at Goodlife Kingsway Gym. Thanks Buddies! You’re the best!!

Pete & staff at Goodlife gym

I hate to be a big girl about this!!! But this week I left Goodlife Kingsway Gym!!…..”My  church !!…..my salvation!! “…..my way out from this locked-in war!!”

I don’t wanna disrespect the church by saying that, but it was. I prayed more in there than anywhere and held back a lot of tears through my fight with my limbs and my divorce – not to mention poverty!!! That’s always fun of course!

Over the last 4.5 years I put a shit load of hours into that place, I tell ya – pain, sweat n tears, with bucket loads of focus.  Two years of pool till I could get upstairs to the gym. Even then it was the cross trainer for 6 months…. I used to look at everyone on all these machines n dream of using ‘em someday, And I did!!! All except the big bloke corner!!!

4.5 years of the same staff really connected me to ‘em, for sure! They’re probably thinking, “Thank God for that – Pete’s left! Yay!!!!

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I’ve just moved house with help from my Dad and his wife Noi (thank you x). “A change is as good as a break,” they say. Well, I needed it!!!  I’ve seen every crack on the streets, and entered the gym that many time I swear the door hinges are loose!!

New area, new start, new gym. A whole fresh outlook….it’s a bit overdue I think!

I’ll miss ‘em all and, even though this half decade was hell, the people I’ve met through it are now embedded in my heart! The right staff makes a good gym and I sure had the best!!!  (in my totally unbiased opinion, of course – Hahaha!)

On my last day, I found out who donated my 10 free lessons too! Never guessed it either –  it was a guy I’d d known in the gym called Anthony Carcione (sneaky sod!!) Thank you so much mate! I didn’t know what to say!!  People in this world are amazing but you only find out who they are when you fall!!! I owe ya a big steak, buddy!

Thanks for the pain, Cheri – my personal trainer towards the end, but I’m grateful to all the staff sorry I can’t name you all; there are too many of you, but you know I will do anything for you all – Just ask me!

Privileged to know each and every one of you, truly!! So, to all at Goodlife Kingsway, Pete is signing off & signing out with a cheesecake of love coming right at ya! xxx

Pete - cake for goodlife gym

Thanks a million!

Pete

95-year olds put a spring in my step!

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Look at the picture above then read on…

Never thought I’d ever be writing this! I’ve walked 1000s of kilometres, been trampolining, had years of pool rehab,  gym, weights, blar blar,  you know how dedicated I’ve been…..

Well! After all that, who’d have thought a day at an Aged Retreat would leave me so exhausted?!!! The little old ladies had me up dancing! Today we did a quiz and I had a morning natter to a few of the residents…Funny, some of them! Hahaha (real funny!) And it’s all part of my work experience!

Yes, I really like my new volunteer job on Thursdays; It’s certainly different to my Friday sessions at the hospital.

As some of you may know, I’m going back to finish the last part of my course in July, so I wanted to gain as much experience as I could in my new chosen field as an OTA (occupational therapy assistant). Over the years I’ve come across many new conditions, such as:

Stroke and Locked-in syndrome (obviously); Guillain  Barre syndrome (where nerves are attacked by the body’s own immune defence system);
Multiple Sclerosis; Aphasia  (communication/speech problems); and Head Injury. I’ve also encountered Melanoma,
amputees, Diabetes…let’s leave it at that, ey. My point is, one thing I’d never been involved with was Dementia and I wanted to learn more about it!!

Well, I believe in fate and, while I was on my Tafe course, I met a lovely fellow Manc (Manchester) lass called Alicia Walker. We hit it off straightaway and became friends, even catching up over a juicy steak. That sealed a long-term friendship, I’ll tell ya! Nom nom nom! Just so happens she worked in care for the aged and pumped me into the pipeline at her place.

I’ve only had 2 days at this retreat but I’m under OTA’s wings and trying to get hands on and be helpful. Well, like I said, the ladies had me dancing, something I haven’t tried to do for years – and, Yes, I still suck! Haha! But I really got a lot out of it. The enjoyment the residents were having stimulated me too; it was wonderful seeing them smiling and coming to life!

I love the way OTAs can find ways to get people moving. As I’m all too aware, movement is everything when it comes to stimulating the brain and mood. OTAs also give back a sense of purpose – an aspect I’m particularly interest in and hope to put to good use in the future.

Meanwhile, I’m not sure whether this will be my direction, but I had a good few days at the care home, even improving my general knowledge during the quiz! Did you know Asia is the biggest continent!? It’s in there now – go on ask me another!!!!  Our team came second in the quiz too, with very little help from me! They were pro!!!

Altogether, a great day! I never dreamed I could get up and dance with 95-year old ladies and bring smiles to their faces….not after my story. Think they all liked me, despite my two left feet; but, hey, let’s not be doing the tango before I can two-step! It’s only been a couple of days so, “Easy Pete, easy lad! Let’s not get too excited!”

Thanks Alicia – It’s been a pleasure so far. And thanks to all the team at Aegis Aged Care Group!

You’re the best!

 

 

Down but not out. The dream continues…..

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I was very disheartened last week – so much so I didn’t want to tell my followers that, for the first time since my stroke, I was gonna quit.

It all started when my insomnia came back. I was trying to keep up on my course – sometimes I was saying anatomical terminology in my sleep, or I’d be awake for most of the night. So I had to see Dr Lucinda who knows me well. I told her my issues and asked her for sleeping pills: “Just to keep me going.”

But her answer came as a shock: “Sorry Pete, I can’t.”

I looked at her with disbelief, so she went on to explain:  “Pete, you’ve been through that stage now; I’m not happy you want to go backwards! As your doctor, I feel it’s not in your best interest, so I can’t give them to you, sorry.

‘What you need is to back off,” she continued “You’re pushing too hard. Your concentration isn’t what it was, and you haven’t studied for 20 years! Just think what you have done, take a step back and go part time.”

So I left with my telling off and took action, setting up a meeting with Darren and Liz, principal lecturers at Tafe. I told them I was struggling and they were very understanding about it, coming up with a good suggestion: I should hit the course in two halves – go away, work on my recovery, then come back in July with a fresh head!

I’m so grateful for that option! Also feel a great relief, as I was going to quit – and that would have destroyed me inside! I had a direction and it was my first real one since wanting to walk!! Now, I’m really happy again.

Finding a balance is the key, I guess. You can’t do 5 years of physical then just switch to full on study! I was stiffening up and getting depressed too.

From now on….Slow n steady Pete. Slow n steady!!

Thanks Mt Lawley Tafe!!