Category Archives: Disability

You must be rich

said a small voice to me.  It came from a young boy maybe eight or nine.  I was siting in my car when I heard a small noise and saw this boy bent over my strawberries. Continue reading

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Not another bloody God botherer!

Staggering,stumbling and swaying, I saw the figure in the distance, drunk…. perhaps, as I get closer I see a familiar figure,pastel blue high waisted track pants, pink turtle necked skivvy that is tucked into her pants, Continue reading

Hello Sciatica My Old Foe.

It  was almost a red letter day.  This chapter has been a relatively short few weeks however the book has been running for 24 years and it yet may not yet be over. I am not easily un-nerved however I felt some anxiety as I was seated, lots of shuffling of paper and what seemed an inordinate amount of errs, hmms, and umms did not help to settle me.  Continue reading

Broken, somethings just are….

I remember it as if it were yesterday, 41 years is a long time to have a memory like that.  I had admired it for a week, standing tall and proud  Dressed in shining splendour, green and gold with a shiny silver overcoat, it had to be mine.  I am not sure how I wangled it, either bottles to the bottle-man or I may have mowed some lawns but in my hand I held the necessary to make it mine, possess and admire it till the time came to set it free.  I took it out of the over coat, smelt it savored  it, stroked it even, smooth then just a little rough.  I held it by its single white leg and imagined how it would end, and then disaster, in a moment it was an amputee, this thing of wonder lay in two pieces and I was desolate.  My rocket was broken.  this was no plastic fantastic but made in China nevertheless. This was the grand deluxe, sky traveller rocket, ready to be ignited to fly high into the sky and with a huge bang ignite a flare that would hang in the air by a thing of absolute marvel, its own parachute.  But now it was broken.  I remeber taping it up, but like a modern space rocket tape didn’t do it. I lit it, it fizzed rose a few feet, exploded and was done,  it was broken and could not be fixed, refired, rebuilt, re engineered, it was finished.

I thought about this as I read the news about the Pike River Mine http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11354441, it’s so unfair I heard one person lament.  Twenty nine men dead, and no one held accountable and no bodies to be recovered, no comfort here, just 29 men lying on the hard rock at the bottom of the earth, no words said over their bodies,no final farewells, time to move on they said, nothing more to be done, nothing to see here, move along. Tomorrow I have another MRI scan, back problems, bad, no relief from the relentless pain and disability, sucks me dry, destroys me one little bit at at time.

This is a last gasp attempt t try and get some resolution, lose some weight they said, so I dd 45 kgs, no improvement. get fit they said, so I did, be active so I did,get a job, so I did, take these pills, that vitamin, this mineral, pray, be thankful, all of these things I have done.  It is like I have used my prayer quota up on other things…. a long time ago.  I am prepared to be told that there is nothing “they” can do for me, I have heard it all before.  I have a plan for that but I know.  I know broken when I see it now and i am largely a broken man, living a life dictated by circumstance and brokenness.

I have encountered broken many times, I have pressed on chests and poured air into my neighbors lungs, in a futile attempt to start here heart beating again, all I did was push her blood into her chest, you see her heart was broken, an aneurysm they said, you did a good job, there was no chance, but I tried, I prayed and pumped and pumped and prayed and breathed, nothing, just a still whiteness and the smell of death,

I recognise other things in my life that are broken, I am tempted to try and fix them however b myself all I could do would be like my rocket, fix it with tape and hope, if I had had Gorilla glue I may have had a chance, however the weigh to be power ratio in the rocket was made for it to be perect and could never function with tape around the stick.  I have carried that broken rocket in my head for 40 plus years.  I hope the other brokenness is not with me for that long.

Live laugh and love well and freely, who knows what the morrow brings, it may be too late on the morrow.

Pulling the plug

I almost had a poem as I drove home today, it was pretty dark really, fields of broken dreams, dredging up the past, kind of stuff.  I thought I would start by throwing a few words on a line and then I realised I didn’t have the energy.  Just too tired, physically, and emotionally for poetry right now. Don’t feel sorry for me please, I do that well enough for myself at times.

The phrase” pulling the plug” has been on my mind lately.  pulling the plug means different things to people.  I have been present when the plug has been pulled on life support machines.  it is not as dramatic as that really, no-one pulls the plug, just a simple turning off off a machine, the the mechanical noises stop, no more beeping, release sometimes happens quickly for some it takes time it is different for every one I have seen.

Tonight I don’t want to talk about that I have seen death up close and personal enough.  I am writing about different plug pulling here.  I was reflecting over the weekend, I feel a little lost at the moment,  job is possibly the biggest issue, nothing on the horizon, not sustainable anyway as for the moment I am stuck where I am for a number of reasons, unable to shift.  I used to boast about my flexibility, if I didn’t have teaching work then there was always cooking, building, milking, driving mowing lawns, you name it I have done it or would have done it. But alas no more.

Since 1988 I have been fighting a narrative of pain in my life due to a back injury.  I made concessions to it for a couple of years but came to a point where I just decided to do it anyway, my back would be sore regardless, I have carried on lifting etc over the years with very few concessions, unfortunately no more, lately the problems I have been having with my back have forced a radical rethink about my life.  It is not just pain but physical symptoms that I cannot live with.  Unfortunately there is at times when I think I cannot even teach anymore.  The prospect of being defined by disability just eats at me in a way that is consuming and terrifying for me.

I have a plan to deal with it, one last shot with a different surgeon I will see what they have to say, I hope for an answer, but if not then it will be plan b.  Plan b is not, don’t think it for one second giving up.  I have pulled the plug on physical work, indeed if I get any worse it may be full-time work that I cannot cope with but I will not be defined by that which I cannot do.  I have been defined by what the world (and at times myself) sees as failure, a broken marriage, broken relationships a constant battle for employment but I am not ready to pull the plug on that which I know to be true.

I am a father,writer, poet,mentor and friend.  these things I hold to and have not failed at.  The rest well it hurts at time, tears have been close for a while, I think a function of tiredness and pain and change, not much I can do right now about those narratives.

I am grateful for those friends and family who have and continue to support me. You can shake me if I am too morbid  (or buy me wine or coffee), encourage me to have fun, don’t let me lift stupid things and understand me if I can’t or don’t do the physical things I used to do, I am not an invalid yet, I can’t walk very far,(I can cycle), I wont last the evening dancing and I am not up to concreting or digging holes anymore, but hopefully with what is left I can still support my friends and look after my family.

Well that is my day done, to those of you still up, sleep well, laugh loudly, and love abundantly.

Paul