Tuesday, 1 November 2016

"I'M B A A - A C K!"

Hi Guys,

I'm back... ... ...


What can I say other than it has been a long long arduous last year.

Last time I wrote about decluttering my 'stuff' was 7 November 2015.  Seems like a life time ago now.

Nothing could have prepared me for what I have been through.

However, I am lucky to still be here and for that I am very grateful.


Time has flown by at times and other times it has dragged.

There is some good news and some not so good news.

First ~ I have had the operation.  And all did not go as to plan.

Second ~ I have still been decluttering ever so slowly.

Third ~ life can suck, but, oh is it ever so sweet.  Stuff or no stuff.

Where to start.  At the start I suppose!

Basically, life was altered forever after and even though one health issue was resolved and corrected, I had another created spinning me into a whole new direction altogether.  Sometimes, no matter how bad it seems at the time, it can end up okay.

This change I did not embrace at the time at all.  My life was literally flipped over completely in that one second.

Since then (then being 1 March this year), I had to adjust every facet of my day to day living.  Life certainly can throw curve balls when you least expect it.  And I had not anticipated anything like this.  I had made plans that where shut down that day by what took place.  I am generally optimistic and flexible person most of the time.  However, this time, I was knocked over by what happened and so I cried for a few months till I began to come to terms with it and slowly climbed my way back up from the hole I had hurtled into.  When ever that 'up' was to happen and still only halfway up out of that hole.

So.  Here I am.  I got through Christmas 2015.

My 60th birthday comes and goes, as I am weeks away from the operation to mend my bones and hip to quell the excruciating pain I feel, regardless of the heavy duty killers that I had now lived on for the last 18 months.  I decided I would celebrate later once I was on the mend.  Little did I know of what was to come.

The date for my surgery was 25 February, a Thursday, earlier this year and by this stage my friend had to wheel me in.

I was overwhelmed with trepidation.  I don't know why, as previously, I have handled some serious operations and procedures in the past.  This time, I just did not feel so confident.

It had to be done.  There was no choice.  I was going to end up unable to walk anyway if I did not proceed.

The afternoon surgery lasted 5 hours.

The pain medication wore off after a few hours, I came too and the pain hit me like a truck.  I was in agony.  After the pain meds were under control, I never really recovered.  I have tolerated these meds in the past.  This time, I was vomiting and just not quite right.  The good news was, it was not cancer that had caused the hole that blasted it's way through my left pelvic hip bone from the ball socket joint from the inside out right through to the other side with bone fragments and bits.  I was thankful it was over, albeit, feeling so ill.  I thought at the time, this too shall pass.

However, I began to experience headaches on the one side near my temple a couple of days after the surgery.  What with vomiting and the constant now headache, I told the doctors about them the next day on their early morning rounds at around 6.30am.  It was 1 March, a Monday.  They were concerned and told me to immediately let them know via the nurses if I noticed 'ANY' changes no matter how insignificant.

After the doctor's rounds, I was taking a shower around 9am and while in said prone situation, I experienced what can only be described as horrific.  I immediately thought I was having a massive stroke of some kind.  In my right eye, I saw huge white explosions that looked like fireworks up close and far too personal.  I felt no pain at the time.  Once the explosions subsided, I realised quick smart that I was blind in that eye.  And then I began to feel all sorts of things that I wont go into right now as it would take too long.  Suffice to say, I fumbled for the nurses button as best I could whilst wet and naked and did my best to cover myself and finish rinsing my hair.  The next few hours, days and months were harrowing to say the least.

At the time I experienced what I had experienced, I honestly thought I was going to die.

What I went through, does not need to be expanded here any further, other than to say, I have ever since been on one big roller coaster ride like no other.

How could this happen.  I came into the hospital fully sighted and now to leave blind in one eye after coming in for a bone graft and hip replacement operation!  What the!!!

Apparently, I suffered an extremely rare complication from the hip replacement component of my surgery.  An embolism of bone marrow with bone dust trapped within that embolism would normally disperse in time after surgery.  In my case it did not.  It could have found its way into any part of my body that could have killed me or rendered me goodness knows what.  My embolism chose the back of my right eyes retina to cause havoc.  Basically, the microscopic bone dust found it's way into the smallest of small dead end blood vessels in that one retina.  I wont go into the medical details of the process or my journey since, other than to say, it is called 'Purtscher's Retinopathy'.  Even the most senior Opthomologist's I have seen had no clue about it as they had never seen a case before.  Only read about it.

Nothing could be done. Nothing! Other than time to see if it would come good, or come good partially, or remain as bad as it was from the moment it happened.

In my case, it only partially came good.  Like a little bit.  According to the charts and what is allowed I was told I would be able to drive with the aid of special lenses for that eye.  The trouble is it will take this process between one to two years.  My progress is slow.  My brain has to adjust to this sudden loss.  I am learning to see again, as what and how I see has vastly altered, to what I was accustomed to.

Ever since this unwanted blast in the back of my eye, I have had a headache 24/7.  Most days my ability to concentrate and see is best in the morning and then deteriorates by the afternoon.  Depending on what I have to do I now have migraines on a regular basis.  This does not stop.  Then there is the double and triple vision once my eyes fatigue.

In the meantime, while I was coping and coming to terms with all of this, I had physio and rehab to deal with.  On top of that my leg was weak from the massive cut due to the bone graft that I had.  I could feel the bone graft knitting and it was an odd sensation and quite painful.  But, in a good way.  I am now walking better and the pain has gone on that side.  All I have to deal with is the lower back pain and right hip burning.  Small price to pay.  The major pain at least on the left was gone.

I now have to use a cane due to this eyesight issue.  I have now bumped the right side of my head so much that I think I have knocked sense into it.  A few months after I burnt my right arm severely due to 'not seeing' that particular spot.  All a learning curve.

I have had to get special glasses with a special lense for that eye only.  Looks very odd,  But, what the hey.  I need all the help I can get.  I need several pairs and have to get them one at a time as the cost of all this has blown right out.  And on top of this it has stopped my plans from gaining the work I so wanted as I cannot do the job I wanted as it involves, yes, driving.  Cannot win.

At least I am alive.

Then the sorrow I felt at the loss of my eyesight and what that meant.  I grieved and cried and cried some more.

I found it hard to find my way back.

I lost my positivity.  I lost a lot.  I lost my spark.  I lost my hope.

I had to force myself to not got down any further.  But, at each turn I was being hit down even further.

Out of all this some good things started to happen.

And that brings me to my stuff.  The decluttering of my abundant still ever present cumbersome stuff.

Due to having traded my one health issue for another out of the blue, I have had to accept help in assorted areas and has meant I have come into contact with a variety of professionals and charitable organisations.  It has been a process and one leads onto another and collectively means I have received help to get to where I have thus far since the surgery.  Again, I will reiterate, every little bit helps right now.

I wont name the places or people, but the people, some of whom are social workers or specialists in their fields have come and assessed my situation and so on and long story short, out of one of these many meetings and gatherings, I was offered limited funding to help with the 'stuff' that was still outside under my carport and the little shed in the backyard to help alleviate at least one of my many stresses.

I was hesitant at first.  After much thought, I knew I needed that help.  What would it hurt.

This professional who does this for a living, visited to discuss what I had already achieved so far and what I thought needed to be done and where I wanted to get to and how to go about it.

We decided to start with the shed as that could then be used to house any items to be sold on eBay or at a local Sunday market.  My view was that those items would not re-enter the house.  What did not get sold went to charity.

I was granted six 3 hour sessions and we got stuck into it in late May.

The system we used for me to get through the items was easier than I had anticipated.  She sorted through each box methodically placing the items in sorted piles in front of me while I sat at a table tossing said items into tubs placed around me.

A tub for rubbish or too far gone for any good use.

A tub for charity with items still in a good and reasonable state and clean.

A tub for items that were to be given to other persons.

A tub for items I could sell.

A tub for what I wanted to keep.

My professional friend placed the items from each box on the table in a manner that made it easy for me to go through.  As a tub filled it was replaced with a fresh one.  All rubbish and charity items were  then placed into her car at the end and taken away that day.  We also used my bin.  Only the items to be kept were taken inside.  I have taken items from inside out to the shed also since.  I have culled more items in these months on the inside as well to go to charity.

It is the paperwork and the 'little' itty-bitty items that are the most time consuming.

But this system works for me.

After each session there were boxes of papers to go through that I could do after she left that I could get done by the next session.  This saved time and maximised my time with her expertise.

Being outside, the weather played a factor in when we could work on the boxes.

It took 4 sessions to get the boxes in the shed finished.

The remaining 2 sessions we got stuck under the carport.  I had done a lot in the 8 years, but there was still a bit more to go.  I had said previously I was running out of puff.  I will share photos once I finish under there to show just how much has been achieved over those years.  At the moment, I am just concentrating on working through it for now.

What was left under the carport is on two sides, that I refer to as 'the fence side' and the other 'the porch side', which is up against the house.  We started on 'the porch side'.  I had stacked the boxes and items on pallets to keep off the ground.  I knew much would have perished, but I had found that a surprising amount was still okay due in part to thankfully having put these boxes on top of the pallets so they were off the ground.

Eventually my six sessions were up.

I didn't know how I was going to finish, but at least much had been chucked out and a dint had been made at long last.

Also, there were six, full to the brim and roof top of a normal size car, including front seat, back seat and boot of stuff that had gone forever never to be seen or touched again by me.  Not to mention, the other extra stuff I had farmed out since, gave to others, tossed in the bin and the council hard rubbish collection held in August that had the nature strip filled once again.

On the fence side, I can now see most of the fence.

On the porch side, I can now see the bricks of the house and light through to the front of the house.

I am eager to complete this task under the carport finally after 8 plus years.

Only then will all be revealed with said promised photos.

After the carport is sorted, then it will be the 'inside' of the house's turn to methodically go through the stuff and decide on what I want to keep only.

I have taken many photos of items that I wish to remember, but no longer need.  I have found that to be most helpful for me at least.

I cannot say, how much this professional woman has helped me.  She made this process so pleasurable and so easy going.  She took the time to allow me to process what I needed to when emotions bubbled up.  This was not often as there was much more laughter than there were tears.

I found treasures and gems that I thought were lost.

Some precious and irreplaceable papers perished.  However, less than I feared.

Going through my stuff that had been held in a kind of stasis for so long, like a time warp, reminded me of how far I had come since both my Mum and sister passed away.

There were also a few boxes of my parents in the mix, which also served to help me appreciate them even more.  Letting go is bittersweet, but it also turned out to be a healing process as well for me.

And last, but not least, there were many things from my big sister that were so wonderful to find.  Items I can use.  Things to remember that make me happy.  Looking back is not such a bad thing sometimes.

Anyway, I was making very slow progress once my six sessions were up and within a few weeks, due to the fact that I was so pro-active in my decluttering, the organisations that helped me with the funding, and along with the professionals advice, that it would be helpful to finish the job under the carport, I was pleasantly surprised by being called to be told that I was being rewarded with three more 3 hour sessions.  I had tears of joy.  I get to get more done with her help than on my own.  Finally, something wonderful, instead of more pain.

We have now had two of these further sessions and in a week will be the last of those granted.

The porch side is now half way or more at least and I am hoping we will have that side almost or completely dealt with and sorted.  That is my hope.

Then it is the fence side only.  Facing that on my own will be daunting.

My daughter is going to help me with my belated 60th birthday celebration, which I will be holding next year.  I don't want gifts, as I don't want to deal with any more stuff right now.  But, I may ask for donations of cash to cover the hourly rate of the professional, so I can have a chance at getting the rest of what is left under the carport done.  Fingers crossed.

Inside the house wont be so bad.  Just time consuming.

Then there is what is in the attic that I don't think I have mentioned till now.

I just couldn't manage even thinking about it till now.  That was out of sight and out from my mind.  Till now.  Oh, yes, the attic, I promise, that is the last of it.

There you have it.

My last year in all it's brutal glory.

I had stopped for some months after the surgery due to what you know now and slowly I picked myself up and got on with it.  Slowly and ever so slowly I got started again with the decluttering. With what happened to me it meant I got the help I so desperately needed to get on with it.  Had that not happened, I would still be a long way away from where I am now with the stuff.  The relief I will feel will be enormous when it is all finally finished.

I will have projects, but they will be all sorted and together where they need to be so I can finish them at long last.

As for the moving and the pain.  The moving is a lot better, except for the eye.  The one main pain from before is now gone, except for the other pain issues that I can live with like most others do.

Due to the eye issue, it has taken nearly 9 months to get behind the wheel of my car.  I have found being so dependent on others for lifts and assistance very difficult as I don't like to be a bother.  Many have helped me and I have thanked them, but cannot thank them all enough.  My many friends and children have been a Godsend.  My angels.  I may have been unlucky in some ways, but, boy oh boy, am I lucky with all those who have cared enough to give me their time.

Puts everything into perspective.

It will take a long time before I can venture far in the car.  If I find that I can only do short distances.  Then, so be it.  At least I will be able to get the food shopping done at the very least.

Life is far too short, and I will use the saying, to sweat the small stuff.

I am alive.

I am going to live a life with joy, laughter and as much love and friendship that comes my way from now on.

My journey with my stuff is not over yet.  However, I am not going to let it get me down any longer.

It may still take a while, just not as long as I thought originally.

The photo below is of me on my third driving session last weekend.  Please notr that when my son took this photo we were stationary at the time, as when I am driving, it is hands on wheel and full on focus on the road and what is around me.  Then home to lie down for the headache tablets to work.

It's been a long time coming for me to be back on the road again.  Only took 9 months.  Happy doesn't come close to describe how I feel.

Well, there is more, but more than enough.

Remember, be kind to yourself as you work through your stuff.  No point stressing over what you cannot do.  Do one thing and pat yourself on the back.  I have found the momentum has increased now as I do these little purges each day and does add up, as it will for you.

As for me, I have paperwork to go through.

I hope you have not wondered where I have been.  I must say, it did seem like I dropped off the edge of the world.  It is just that it takes me so long to do this typing, as after a while I get double and triple vision and have to stop.  Stop then start again a few days later.  Stop.  Start.  Stop.  Start.  Ever so annoying.  Again, all my learning curve for now.  Is what it is.

Just wanted to let you know, 'I'm back'.

Ciao for now and take care and keep on tossing the stuff out or give your not needed stuff to charity if it is still usable.

Thankful to still be here.


  1. Anita - brilliant writing! Absolutely fabulous and riveting!!! You must keep everything you've written! Just keep on keeping on! xxx

    1. I liked that Berger Paint advertisement from eons ago. One of my favourite saying is, "Keep on keeping on!". x A

  2. Anita - brilliant writing! Absolutely fabulous and riveting!!! You must keep everything you've written! Just keep on keeping on! xxx