Not all Disabilities are visible.

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This is something I think I can talk about. People look at you and think a young man in a Wheelchair; I bet there is nothing wrong with him, or there goes another Dole Bludger.

Let me tell you, pushing a Wheelchair is not an easy job, whether you are sitting in it or walking behind pushing it.

OK, I am not a young man anymore, but I still went through it all. It started all with a back injury naturally not at work; at least I would have gotten compensation or a Pension. No I did it helping a Friend out. When it happened I fell to the floor and stayed there, I just couldn’t get up again and I was lying behind the Shed where nobody could hear me. After a while which seemed like hours a delivery person found me. I was taken into the house being in screaming agony.

We were on a Farm some Kilometres from Town. They all tried to get me to the Car, but there was no hope. I had too much pain. Anyway I finished up seeing a Doctor and another and another and so on. I don’t want to mention that I had a Family to support. Life went on, but I didn’t have a Day without Pain. I managed to walk around with the help of a walking stick. When you are a big and strong Person, there is nothing worse than feeling helpless.

By this time I was sick of Doctors and Hospitals. I felt like I was being used as a Guiney Pig.

Then one day what is now Centrelink got in touch with me, wanting me to see their Government Doctor, so that I could go onto a Disability Pension and get of Sickness Benefit.

That was very nice, but I was having a bad Day and so I took it out on the Doctor, in fact I blew the shit out of her. I still got the Pension.

I tried at lots of times to get Work. But because of my back injury I could not get Insurance.

No Insurance, no Job.

This went on for many years, my Kids grew up and left Home. My back condition never changed; sometime my pain went bad other times it was less.

Some years later my marriage fell apart and I remarried, by which time I had developed chronic Angina.  We or she bought us an ex Ambulance and a 32” Caravan and we went travelling all over Northern Australia. We did all this while being on a Pension, but in 1996 I had a Job offered to me driving a Bus for a few Days for the local YMCA. It looked like a permanent Job and so we went of the Pension. My Wife being a Nurse was offered a Job in the Kimberley’s.

There went my job with the YMCA and we went to the Kimberley’s working in an Aboriginal Mission. There was no work for me there so having a good Computer I taught myself everything there was to know about computing. So a year later my wife got a job in the Hospital and I managed to get a job as a Clerk doing mainly Data input.

By now I was managing nicely without my Walking Stick, but my pain was getting worse. I could only work 6 hours a day. A year later we went south to another Aboriginal Mission. Approximately 12 months later we went to work in the city again. We both worked in the Hospital. Here to I had problems with pain too and again, I could only work 6 hours. I was also got diagnosed with Chronic Sleep-Apnea. In 2004 my marriage fell apart when I walked out and shifted to Perth. Four years later I got married again. We lived happily in the Country till I started having Heart problems again, which was resolved by having Stents put into my Arteries. Soon I was experiencing more problems, like severe Fatigue, more pain.

After seeing the Doctor and having several tests done. I learned that my Pituitary Gland was a malfunctioning.  It was getting so bad that we had to sell our home and shifted closer to Medical Service in the City. Here I was diagnosed with emphysema and having more tests done due to the increase in pain. After approximately 6 months of ongoing test, we found that I was suffering from Fibromyalgia a condition not unlike Chronic Fatigue Syndrome except with Fibromyalgia you keep falling over, and the pain is much more severe especially in the joints and long bones. Now in 2013, I find I am using Crutches, a Wheelchair, and I just been measured for a Walking Frame. The funny part is you still can’t see that there is anything wrong with me. –

How do I like my Wheelchair? I hate it, but it helps me to get around. We mainly use it when going to the big Hospital in the City and what I hate most about it is that my Wife has to push me as I get Fatigued too quickly. A few months ago I went to the shopping centre; everything went fine until I had to go up a little bit of a ramp. Well no matter what I did my left Wheel kept slipping. Many People walked past me including two Policemen. Helping me couldn’t have been part of their Job description.

Such is Life. I eventually got into the shop by wheeling myself around to the other Entrance. My Wife had to pick me up. When we got home I was so fatigued that I had to go to Bed. I try to live as normal a life as possible. I always say, you have to learn to adapt. Yeh, try it; there are times when nothing goes right. We have a small Garden and my wife decided she would put in reticulation. While she was out shopping, I decided to help her by fixing a small elbow on the hose.

When I went to join the Elbow onto the pipe I fell down. Well I stayed there and just cried, because I felt so utterly useless. Then there was the time when my Knee gave way and I collapsed onto the floor, the pain in my knee was so bad that I could not get up. My wife was not home so I had to crawl into the bedroom and into bed where I stayed till my wife returned Home. There are so many incidents like that and people still think there is nothing wrong with you. On my last examination they found that my body is riddled with Arthritis.

 What next???

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