So beneath everything going on here, you know the struggle for self and all that, my ultimate fear was dying having not accomplished my dreams. Most of what I’d think about was marriage, travel, adventure, and even professional aspirations – this is the stuff that I thought made a life complete – or in other words without them I wasn’t whole (oh how I was wrong). But even having said that, these dreams and aspirations had become quite important to me at the time, only the question remained how was I going to make them a reality? Well as it turns out with some luck… see suddenly a architectual poster appeared on the wall mapping out a new facility – hrmm nek minnit! Yep above all this was the thing that had to change. So then followed the conversation; and the rumours were true, we were freakin moving!!!! All the patients were heading to a brand new facility, and the respiratory centre would be closed down – OMG both my Dad and I were so so happy!!! I’d been at the centre for four months, and for four months of hell, and here I was being given my get out of jail free card. Amazing relief – especially as this place had been a hospice for over eighty years – man what a break! I was going to get my shot at living.
A recruitment process began for new staff (carers not nurses), also deep planning about the transition process, and I even got to choose my very own room off that same blueprint on the hallway wall. Oh how I ogled that blueprint. What followed were more planning meetings, interviews, and from doing nothing suddenly I had the greatest distraction ever. Hopefully I could catch a break at this new place. Anyhow just to clarify a few things here, what was actually happening was that I was moving out of the specialty respiratory centre into another specialty respiratory service – only the new facility would be residential based not hospital based. You see, previous patients and friends (of the hellish facility) lobbied for years to have a specially built ‘home’ for people with breathing problems. So after the many years of hard work, setbacks and conundrums, all the patients were able to move to this new ‘dream’ residential service. And for me, I caught the last months of this transition, oh man how I was lucky! Right place, right time. I mean I was reaping the benefits of the people who had lobbied for years and years prior, and in many ways, it was quite exciting to be part of this evolution into freedom and the community. Heck I even went out to the new place to visit; it was absolutely empty, it was modern, and the manager was lovely. So much better.
Now I must also say that this whole move thing created the biggest shift in energy at the old place – I’m sure as you’d imagine. But specifically speaking, at this time the patients had the hope and the bright and prosperous future, whereas now it was the nurses living in the unknown. Actually thinking about it now, no wonder the nurses were all so grumpy, they were about to lose their jobs. Such a crazy predicament. And three weeks before the actual move itself the new residential service staff [the carers] began to train at the hospice; so suddenly we [the patients] were all surrounded by people who cared, were excited, and coming on a journey with us. The old staff hated this, their jealousy was vile. In fact it was almost like it became nurses versus carers. Yet for me personally, as you might guess, life started to get much much easier. Plus another bonus, the new staff were a lot younger and more relatable [than the nurses], and we would sit down and have general conversations like human beings. Also I was amazed how a single smile made the difference – when somebody greeted me first thing in the morning. Or another odd little aspect was that I was quickly becoming good friends with a couple of carers, it was all about equality. They would talk to me like a mate and I would reciprocate with best intentions.
The difference between the nurses and carers was becoming evident. Amidst all the training and stuff, the carers and I even managed to find time to do practical real life activities – if there was a spare minute the grumpy nurses would have just downed tools. For instances, when some of the carers would go out for smoke breaks, I’d tag along too. Blimey like now I’d go out for walks, I started to read magazines, we’d chat heaps, and you know it might not seem like much but these are the things that mean the most. I felt human. Like specifically one night (yes, I was allowed to go out at night now) one of the carers and I went for a walk up to the top storey of the hospital (to look at the view of the lights over Melbourne). It was so freeing. Then to continue on to show a bit more of this contrast, on night shift one night (which historically had been a staffing nightmare for me) I pressed my buzzer and this young bag of beans came bounding in; yeah she was that excited to meet me that she was bursting at the seams. We even had like this full on convo at 3am – she was lovely. But the asshole nurses rolled on, now at times even doing things they’d never done before just to try and embarrass me, yeah to prove who was boss – but on the inside I could not be touched. Hope had became an impenetrable wall.
In fact just after unnessesarily being stripped completely naked in front of two young female carers, one kept asking me how I did it? How did I cope? Man, and this flawed me. It was just such a real and raw question to hear, and you know I never really thought about it until then (well so openly), and especially as this was coming from a woman exactly the same age as I was (and her exclaiming that there is no way she would be able to do it, let alone with such a positive attitude and a smile on her face). And well I guess it was hard to respond to this, because in reality I was just trying to make the best of the days that I was living in, and hey I had no choice. To be honest I guess that’s what I said. To me though, and what I should had said, in my thinking it was more about who I might become in pursuit of these trials (aspiring for health), it was not about the trials themselves. I mean I still had plenty of hang-ups and insecurities sure, but I had already become much stronger overcoming the insecurities at hand. Then from here, possibly aiming for more growth, it was the move to the new facility that really put a fire in my belly. It really was time to live again. And best of all, I had a whole new crew, a whole new batch of friends and their new ways – institution no more. They had my back travelling into the great unknown.