Thursday, September 29, 2011

Thanks to Joanna on her latest post, talking about Kevin Rudd's recent gaffe on radio. So, who do we want as PM???

what a gaffe: Open letter to the cabinet

This happened on my mothers local radio station.

He’s a happy little vegemite, that’s at least a good sign for a foreign minister sprooking a “once Australian” production.

Not that anyone will ask my opinion on the matter but for what it’s worth I think that the only “reasonable solution” (the time has passed for a “good” solution) is to have a challenge. Do it openly, loudly even. Plan it, book it in. Just have it. Have anyone whose name has been mooted by the media make a “real” statement as to status.

Then you have two options, just two I figure.
1. Kevin wins,well  so that the electorate’s original wish is respected. He might lose the election but he can push it back a bit at least . Then when you lose you can play swapsy if you like. If he wins and keeps winning he needs to talk succession. But if he wins in the world outside the cabinet room, then in one sense, the cabinet needs to suck it up. The people have spoken. Democracy has then done its job.  If he’s that bad at internal consultation there’s always Dale Carnegie! But I doubt they will win again.

2. Someone else wins and everyone else shuts up and winner gets given three clean news cycles. Yes I know technically the media decides that. But the party PR machine needs to cheer loudly. Keep all the news coming from the Government, Party and Country coming from this mouth ONLY. I think there are too many egos for this to work. But it must, because the Party can’t afford a bi-election. Nor can the liberal-minded of us all migrate to New Zealand quickly enough!

Even people I know with little interest in politics are taking bets on Julia remaining PM. Lets deal with it.
Why one might ask is this still an issue. Why is Kevin Rudd still on the front page of the paper every time he coughs?

Despite the carbon tax Copenhagen/mining tax mess up, I think that the polls that resulted were only meant as a slap. A punishment, not an execution. We figured he’d get the message that he had upset us and he’d have the time to kiss us and make up. He was still charming to us. So we didn’t know that he was hard to work with. But that wasn’t our problem. The spill made it our problem because it happened quickly, but not cleanly. and neither the mining tax, nor the carbon tax have looked like clear and clean wins for Julia Gillard anyway.
You turned our slap into your execution, without asking us. Clearly we don’t like that type of responsibility. We are happy enough (or not) with the responsibilities we have, thank you very much.

So now we are nervous about why the choices we make mean. Some are learning what the rest of us knew; you elect a local member and the rest happens in green and red rooms elsewhere.

But, even to those of us who do intellectually understand that though, you do sell the leader you have as prime ministerial candidate versus “other guy”. It’s not “our prime-ministerial candidate” versus “other guy” versus “whoever else we might like later”. Not in the first term.

However and whoever might lament  the Americanisation of politics; it is done as I have just described. Both sides have used this method. It is how it is. Yes we all need civics class to learn more about what our election day choices really mean and all the green and red rooms involved, that will have to go into an education package later on.

In the meantime you have two choices. But first have the challenge. Then decide and make sure everyone gets the memo this time

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Thanks to John for his latest post. There is a new group starting up that some of our Melbourne readers might be interested in, please see John's reference to this.

Thanks to all of you my weekly post now goes out to 202 people as of yesterday.
I normally like to mark the occasion with something different as I did when I hit the 100 mark, Simon and I developed the “Disability Maze” illustration which is still on my site and gets a lot of interest.
Anyway a big thank you for your support.
The Victorian Auditors General Office report on “Individualised Funding for Disability Services” was released on 14th September.
It has an interesting balance of positive evidence from people whose lives are really benefiting along with concerns that the Department of Human Services needs greater assurance that funds are being spent appropriately.
As someone who has been closely involved over the past seven years as a recipient of funding and an Advocate I know how valuable it is to learn from others as peers who are also navigating this new way of funding.
Introducing – Peer Support to Buy Support – Melbourne
Its opportunity for people and families to get together & talk about a range of disability funding challenges whilst sharing with each other the good and the bad experiences.

This group is not connected with any organisation is purely made up of people who are happy to meet up and thrash out, (nicely) topics such as
What’s important when I’m preparing to have my funding plan reviewed?
Go to the Peer Support To Buy Support Melbourne site that has been set up using a great on-line resource known as “Meet up” to get details about the first meeting scheduled for Monday, 24th October 2011 at 6 PM
It’s important that I clarify that this particular initiative is an idea that has been preventing me from having a good sleep for ages and not linked to my advocacy role with VALID.
Peer Support to Buy Support Get Together

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Put Your Best Stick Forward

Today we welcome new guest blogger John Mckenna talking about some sticky business, he writes on his blog here:

Check the height of that walking stick.

It frustrates me when I notice a great number of seniors using a stick that is too long for them.
It stands out a mile when you see a senior person using a stick and there elbow is almost at right angles.

Ideally when a person first gets a stick they are assessed by a health professional, however this often doesn’t happen.

A common scenario is that they are given a stick along with the advice from a well meaning friend “Here use of this, it will keep you from falling over and help you to stand up straight”
Yes of course a stick can be of great benefit, but only if it is the right height.

Things to consider when getting the right height for the person using the walking stick.

If purchasing a stick for the first time from a pharmacy, go for a stroll in the shop using their height adjustable stick.

Now you can determine if this stick is going to assist whilst also determining the correct height.
Once you have the height right then select your stick.

If just wanting to check the height of your existing stick try this as a guide.
Hold the stick with a handle on the ground beside you then stand to attention.
Using 2 cm above your wrist bone as a guide can give you a good indication of the correct height.
Your elbow should only be slightly bent.

 It’s also important to realise people use walking sticks for different reasons, so ultimately do seek advice from a health professional.

Getting your walking stick height right

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Cannula Crazies; Sydney bar delivers oxygen to suckers

Today we'd like to welcome Leela, a new guest blogger for us! She has a blog called The Heart-Lung Thing blog which you can check out here: 

I have always been pathetically self-conscious when it comes to using supplemental oxygen in public.

Pulmonary Hypertension patients are often prescribed the stuff to ward off the effects of long-term oxygen depletion. Some people take it just while sleeping, others (like me) also use it during the day if the weather is a bit humid or if they’ve ‘overdone it’ by walking up a few too many flights of stairs. Some people can’t breathe without it, and are on it 24/7.

Years ago, when the oxygen concentrator was first delivered to my uni student share-house, I had a difficult time accepting its presence in my life.

Its crimes were these:
When switched on it emitted ear-drum destroying beeps, then proceeded to rattle, pant, and heave like an asthmatic labrador. It also had the lovely brand name of ‘Invacare’. As I was in complete denial over my illness at this stage, I considered myself neither an invalid or in need of ‘care’, and thus failed to see how this machine could possibly be of any benefit to me.

Its beige, plastic, rectangular shape was weird and creepy. It sat in the corner of my room like an uninvited guest – a bland-faced hospital bureaucrat perhaps, who would obsessively tidy up the clutter on my desk, then insist on listening to a program on ABC Radio National about dahlia cultivation.

It came with yards of coiled rubber tubing, and had a metal attachment called a ‘nipple’. It also had a thing called a ‘nasal cannula’ that was supposed to go up my nose. Ick.
Most unforgivably, it didn’t even match my furniture. How was I supposed to encourage a creative yet home-like aesthetic with something that looked like a dalek camped out in my bedroom?

If I ever had to wear the nasal thing in public (say answering the door, or hanging laundry on the line), people tended to avoid looking me in the eye. This is because the most common sight of someone hooked up to oxygen is when they are an actor dying of cancer on a telemovie. Me wearing one turned me into Scary Cancer Lady.

It took me months, and a bout of airway restricting influenza, for me to start using it properly. Stupid, I know.

And, I recently found out, highly unnecessary. Because concentrated oxygen has suddenly become the very latest hip and decidedly cool thing to inhale.

An ‘oxygen bar’ has recently opened up in Sydney’s Harbourside Shopping Centre. Here, by the darkly glimmering waters of Darling Harbour,  you can hook your stylish self up to a stylish nasal cannula, and enjoy stylish 90 % oxygen for a dollar a minute.

The ‘bar’ which is in the middle of a shopping mall, is all neon glowing surfaces, touch screens, and shapely white stools, and is decorated with a back-lit blown-up photo of blue sky and green grass. Evocative, I presume, of health and vitality.

Basically, it’s pretty tacky. It looks like a cross between a food-court juice bar and a nail salon. And then of-course there is the array of colour-coded bubbling oxygen flavours that make it look like the Slurpie section of your local Seven Eleven.

While experts such as a respiratory specialist from the Australian Lung Foundation, and two scientists from the University of Technology, Sydney, say that oxygen for healthy people is not only pointless but dangerous, the bar owner insists upon its health benefits.

Taking 90 % oxygen (most air that we breathe is only at 21%) is, apparently, a great way to relax, and speeds flu recovery. And if you’re up all night popping pills and hitting the clubs, then it’s a terrific hangover cure so you’re all perky for the seven am boardroom meeting.

So for years, I have been self-consciously hiding my diseased, cannula-wearing, self in my bedroom, while being hooked up to oxygen was what the cool kids were doing all along.
Worse still, now I puff around town with blue lips, unable to afford the portable oxygen that these days I would wear no matter how self-conscious I’d feel, while the rich and stupid sit in shopping malls sucking down a substance which does nothing for them.

It’s a bit ironic if you think about it.

I suppose you could argue that the same irony exists in many other consumer items. Food that one doesn’t need, for example. Only this morning I bought a pink glazed donut and guzzled half of it while driving home from an appointment.

It was an entirely unnecessary act of crass consumerism. Someone out there in the teeming hungry world would do wonders on that hefty wad of saturated fat and strawberry-flavouring.
But can oxygen be classed as a ‘consumer item’? Should it be? Isn’t taking pure oxygen for a hangover cure the same as having a blood transfusion for a health kick while someone else bleeds out in an emergency room for lack of adequate blood supplies?

Isn’t using oxygen for ‘a bit of a boost’ trivialising the terribly serious world of Medicine and Illness? Or is it a good thing; does it normalise and bring oxygen use out into the open?
I’m not really sure.

The only thing I am sure of, is that I won’t be eating any more donuts – at least not in public. How embarrassingly uncool of me. The really hip trendy people only eat artisan-produced gluten free organic confectionery made locally or in Belgium. From now on, public consumption of donuts will only occur when they are available intravenously in bars.