2006 is one of the worst years I can remember, for people being unwell in one way or another. One friend of mine had to have an operation on her back - OUCH...but she has come out of that much better off, thankfully. Another friend has had all kinds of ongoing health problems which have slower her once-active social life right down. Ken's sister has also been copping all the bugs that have been around this season - gastric and flu alike.
While I haven't actually been 'sick', I have had a few health issues as you'll know if you've been reading this blog lately! This week I have good news and bad news. The good news is that I saw the cardiologist today and he confirmed that my heart is as healthy as it can be given my high blood pressure, which isn't a problem as long as I keep on the medication, and have regular exercise. There are a couple of minor things that he wants my doc. to keep an eye on, but I don't need to take any more pills - YAAAAY! (I hate taking pills...)
BUT...there's more. The 'bad' news is that I have injured my lower back in the course of my work. Back pain is par for the course when you do home care and personal care for disabled people, several days a week. My back got a severe wrench on Monday, and on Tuesday I was in such pain that I visited my remedial massage therapist for an extra session (I usually go once a fortnight). While she worked on me, she commented that my back is becoming weaker and there could be nerve damage at the base of my spine. She said I should think about quitting this work while I am still okay, as it will only get worse if I don't let up. So when I got home, I phoned our financial planner and asked what I had to do in order to retire and access my superannuation. He had a look at his computer and informed me that I only had enough super. to last me about 3 years - BLEAH!! He suggested that I apply to Centrelink for government assistance of some kind to tide me over until I reach retirement age (65). Well, I am one of those funny people who do not like to use our taxes on myself unless it is absolutely necessary, and until we are destitute with no means of support at all, I reckon we can get by okay on our own.
So on Wednesday, I spoke to my work supervisor at the office, and we went over my fortnightly roster of clients. She was very sympathetic, and said she would rather take some of my more 'needy' clients off my roster, than force me to keep going and then lose me altogether if I did some permanent injury to myself. Mind you, the company can't actually 'force' us to do anything; that was not a good choice of words! But some of our past supervisors have made things difficult for the Carers by threatening to sack them if they didn't continue with the same workload. My work load is now reduced from 29 hours a fortnight to 18 hours (9 hours a week), and the clients I have 'lost' are the larger houses with heavy vaccum cleaners. The oldies in their flats with small cleaners are not a problem for me; lugging the large machines up and down stairs is what hurts the old back. You may be thinking "well, good for you, but what about the Carer who has to take those jobs on?" I am one of the oldest Carers at work - most of the women are between 30 and late 40's. The younger and stronger ones will be given the more physically demanding clients, although they also have their share of 'light' work to balance things out. If I was 20 years younger, I wouldn't have these problems!