It’s the little things: What a simple luxury meant to me at a time of great stress 16



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The last two years have been an absolute blur to me. It’s only since we have had a little bit of positive news about my son’s recent surgery I can actually feel myself starting to settle a bit – and I am starting to realise how much of me I have lost.

I had an absolute passion for photography and I packed my camera away over 12 months ago. I wouldn’t even know where it was now, and I don’t care that I don’t know; I have lost all my drive and passion. I would sew a couple of hundred rugs for the RSPCA every year but I can’t see myself ever doing that again. I thought about filling one shoebox at a time with treats and toys, but I don’t really have the money or the time to be looking round shops for dog bargains. My only interest is keeping my son positive and getting him through this nightmare.

I have spent so much time in hospitals, on public transport getting to hospitals, in waiting rooms at hospitals, constantly stressed and agitated that I didn’t realise until just lately that I would go days without even putting a brush through my hair, also I wasn’t eating properly at all. It is not always easy to grab something on the run when you are gluten free and by the time I got home and cooked Mum dinner most nights, I was too tired to eat.

My body started giving me warnings and I wasn’t listening, then one day everything changed. I was at the last hospital and I was agitated beyond belief waiting for my son to come out of yet another surgery. While walking to the hospital restaurant for a coffee, I could feel my legs going into spasms while walking on what felt like shattering feet, I ordered my coffee and I actually thought to look up at a menu board. It said ‘Ham and Cheese toasties on Gluten Free Bread’ – I was so happy I ordered one and it felt like I had handed over $7 and was handed back $7,000,000 in the shape of a very small, very tasty lottery! Sounds stupid now, but I never thought to look for a menu.

It was that ham and cheese toasted sandwich that made me relax and really feel the incredible pain in my legs and feet. It made me realise I had to get myself together and eat properly if the three of us were going to get to the other side of this nightmare. It can be a tad difficult when two people are relying on you. I sipped my coffee and ordered another ham and cheese toastie and pulled out my trusty iPad and for the next 5 hours I researched what can happen to your body in times of extreme stress and consequently I started taking six magnesium tablets a day, started eating properly, and started writing as yet another way to relieve stress. And I can now walk without pain and I am more relaxed well, as relaxed as I can be considering my situation.

My youngest son is very much my rock. I know if I have a problem with anything all I have to do is ring him and he will sort it out. He is the only male that has been there for Mark from the moment he got hit. He was the first of us on the scene and he has been with us every step of the way.

When I need to laugh I write a What Pisses Me Off blog. It’s a therapy and it helps because they take me weeks to do one, it keeps me laughing.

Laughter is good when you have to stay strong. Even in the worst of times if you can get a laugh, I believe you are on the way back up. I am glad I found writing and Starts at 60 – it has been very therapeutic, very helpful.

Have you been in Christine’s situation before? What made you stop and take time for you?

Christine Massey

I am a 61-year-old dysfunctional child of a problem mother. I tend to look at the world with the philosophy "Laugh hard, you could be dead tomorrow!"

  1. This is the best article that I have read. My situation was/is the same. This article has made me think long and hard. Thank you.

  2. Thank you Christine for your pisses me off reads, and I so glad it helps relieve your stress, I’m sure all who read it and get a laugh are thinking of your plight and hoping things improve for you.

  3. I’ve certainly had more than my fair share of hard times during my life time and always found blessing in the small things. I’ve always had a whacky sense of humour too and found that laughter is truly medicine to the soul. One thing I can be certain of I never lost anything of myself though, I only ever discovered another part of me and sometimes it was good and other times not but it was still another part of me so I learned to love the good in me and change those things I didn’t like. Today, I can look back and see my journey has made me who I am today. Me!

  4. Dawn u sound like me..I also rejoice in the smallest bit of change ..I believe u get stronger through trauma..I have no is still am absolute joy

  5. Reading about your plight I wish you only the best. You are a strong person with a wonderful heart. I enjoy your ‘What pisses me off” stories glad to know that they help you as well.

  6. Hope everything gets better for you. Often the carer is the one that needs the help the most .Look after yourself and I hope you laugh lots .Hope all goes well with your son

  7. Yes stress like that is serious and I’m glad to see you have gone into self preservation mode. I actually ended up with Post Traumatic Stress after my son was nearly killed and broke his back in a motorbike accident. On reflection I don’t understand why nobody warns us of the dangers to ourselves. Wishing you all the very best recovery.

  8. Thanks for telling your story hard as it is, you should be proud, it’s a big responsibility caring for family. I forgot about me too and I’m paying for it now, health wise. Keep writing and laughing maybe the rest will follow. Best wishes for you and yours. They say u come out better for it, I did but it took a while to find me. I agree re SAS I love too.

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