Grandma, can I ride on your chariot?
Grandma, can I ride on your chariot?
For three months, visits with my five grand children have been hospital-based. When three years old, and five years old, the attention span is about one minute in this environment, and when you are a nine-year-old boy, you feel just plain awkward. But my chariot is saving the day. That, and a few other things besides.
For instance, I don’t have:
* My jelly bean jar, that the grand children love to put their hand in and pull out a fistful — asking ‘how many can I have this time, Grandma?’ Counting six jelly beans, and choosing the colours is as much fun as eating them.
* My black box, which originally contained T2 tea as a gift, but now is home to a well-stocked supply of small chocolate bars in brightly coloured wrappers, another favourite for small hands to dip into for treats after school and kindergarten.
* My car, to travel to my daughter’s home, for once weekly Grandma Day, to care for her three children while she goes to work as a teacher.
* Take the children for a ride to the library where we love to choose books to borrow and take home to read. Or go to the post office to collect the mail, and see what the goodies the post office might have inside for little boys and girls [always a source of good books at low prices].
* Push the three year old in her stroller to the park and play with her in the playground or give her bread to toss to the ducks swimming and quacking in the stream that passes under the arch-shaped timber bridge.
* Walk along the seashore with the waves lapping at my feet, with the children, selecting shells to take home, and on the way home, selecting milk thistles as a treat for the two canaries, now residing at my daughter’s home.
* Put my grand daughters in the supermarket trolley, and pretend it is a bus as we toot-toot our way around the aisles, adding a few extra items, ‘because we like that, and love this, Grandma’.
* I cannot drive any more or carry a bag of groceries any more. But I can smile!
Being a country girl from way back and therefore resilient, and resourceful, with a lively imagination, I adapt to ‘what is’ and enjoy talking to the nursing staff, and other patients. Many inspiring stories, more than enough to remind me how fortunate I am, for many others face much greater challenges with grace and dignity. And I am fortunate to live in Australia where health services are as super-wonderful as they can be. Which brings me back to when the grand children come to visit, for they are my best medicine of all. I have come up with a few new treats for them:
* “If you can sit still for five minutes while your Mummy and I have a chat, I will give you a ride around the ward on my chariot.” The chariot (walker) is a winner.
* I save my morning and afternoon tea biscuits (cookies) and the children consider these very special, too.
* If they are visiting during meal time, they like to help clean up everything on my tray. Three-year-old Amelia, for instance, announced she was indeed ‘very hungry’ and in need of ‘some vegetables’ so ate the carrot and broccoli from my plate. Then she noticed some cubed fresh water melon, and that went down her hatch, too. Then half a bread roll, with the other half shared with sister Olivia, who also chose the orange juice.(Yes, there was plenty left for me!).
* If everything else fails, there is my iPad and games on downloaded apps to explore. But who wants to do that, when they can climb on board for a ride on Grandma’s chariot?!
Trust is Essential
I don’t know what the future holds, but nobody does. During my long, long recovery journey from an eating disorder, I learnt to focus on making the most of every day, of every moment, and to accept that where I am, is where I am meant to be. I find this clue helpful today.
I trust the wonderful medical teams to make the right choices, based on their skills and knowledge. Meanwhile, I have plenty to do between the many appointment. I focus on completing the final edit of The Diary Healer, (a super-wonderful pain diversion tool), and look forward to next week, when the occupational therapist from the hospital will take me to my little unit, [that my children have furnished, in my absence, in readiness for my discharge from hospital], to determine what mobility aids I require, to be able to live independently in my own home.
Home Sweet Home
The hospital will then arrange for the aids to be delivered, in readiness for my arrival home, hopefully the following day! It has been a new experience, having physiotherapy workouts, and sessions with speech therapist, occupational therapist, dietician, haematologist and and others. I have met many health practitioners and therapists over the years, in relation to my eating disorder, and it seems surreal, now to be seeing all these people in relation to a physical condition that, it seems, is rare.
The hard work accomplished while healing from my eating disorder is standing me in good stead. Writing, as always, is a magnificent coping tool. Writing makes every day count, helps me connect with others, including you, and creates a record and a picture to reflect and to use, as time goes on, in placing the illness experience in the context of life. Oh yes, and I have my chariot as my keeper. Look out, here I come:)