Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Showing the brighter side, this is a pic taken by Rotarian Lynne Cooper at a recent Strathdale Rotary Club meeting where I was guest speaker. Pictured with me are my friend/support worker Roberta Exell (left) and Rotarian Helen Steele.

After all the 'doom and gloom' of my recent blogs, I have been waiting patiently for things to improve. Guess what? They haven't! But my patience has been rewarded by a friend requesting this blog title ("Always Look on the Bright Side of Life") on my radio program a couple of weeks ago. For those who don't know it, the song was written and sung on the movie, Monty Python's "Life of Brian" by Eric Idle. After hearing it, I had to agree it was good advice, regardless of how I had been feeling.

The only other 'upside/downside event' in my extremely quiet and dull existence was the brief episode of a dating site contact with a lady who turned out to be in the United Kingdom. Upon checking out her profile (which informed me she was 57 with a four year old daughter -???), she revealed her younger sister had put her profile on the website and "must have made a mistake with her age" which was, in fact, THIRTY! Thinking once my age was revealed that would be the end of that, I gave her my birthdate (yes, the honest one!) and was surprised when she told me my age was 'just a number' to her and "it's what is in your heart that matters most".

Still convinced that any kind of association with a lady so far away in the U.K. was doomed to failure from the outset, I was further surprised when - three days later - she told me she was about to book her flight out to meet me and would be arriving, with her daughter, in Australia the following week! She assumed they would be moving in with me... then came the inevitable question - could I help her out with her air fares!!! I hastily did a backflip and informed her that a guy like me who lives off his disability pension couldn't possibly pay upfront for flight tickets from England, regardless of the fact that I would relish the thought of welcoming a 30 year-old lady into my life.

And that, my friends, was the end of that!

Since then, my days "off" dialysis (Mondays, Wednesdays, Sundays and Mondays) have seen me sitting at my computer, eating and watching TV on my own with no visitors other than my support workers (I have to wonder where all my friends have gone?). The only breaks from this regular routine have been my Friday afternoon radio programs and when I attended a recent afternoon concert at the Bendigo Club which featured artists from this years Tamworth Country Music Festival. I also have a cards night with friends once every month or so.

In closing this blog, I must say thanks to both Joy G. and Hank for your comments on my last blog. Both very much appreciated - and yes, thankfully, my knees are almost back to 'normal'.

Monday, July 2, 2012


When are they going to end!

My most recent debacle came on Saturday... three days ago.

I was showing one of the nurses at dialysis how to operate my new chair and ended by giving him a demonstration of how fast it can go as I left the ward on level 2. I continued on my rapid journey to the lift, the doors of which were about to close, so I shot in there at a rate of knots and, unfortunately, couldn’t slow down in time and my momentum carried me full pelt into the wall on the opposite side of the lift. Both my knees bore the impact!

The pain was excruciating to say the least (I almost said ‘damn’), so I sat there with tears of agony running down my cheeks until the pain abated long enough for me to hit the ground floor button to take me outside to my waiting taxi. A very bumpy ride home followed, adding to my misery, and by the time my carer arrived to put me to bed I had also developed an extremely painful stomach upset which had to be taken care of before I could retire for the night.

One severely bruised right knee and one very swollen left knee is the result, both extremely painful to move, but at least I CAN move them, so there doesn't appear to be any broken bones. The pain still hits when I go over any bumps and my legs have any sudden, unexpected movement or when I am lifted by my overhead hoist from my chair to bed – and back. My carers have to be support workers in the literal sense at this point and take any weight off my legs when I transfer.
Hopefully this is the end of my run of bad luck for a while.

The moral of this story for me is “Don’t show my new chair off to anyone until I have learned how to control its speed”!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Over recent weeks, I have experienced both sides of the spectrum - the highs and the lows. Let's get the downside out of the way first.

It’s times like these when you wonder whether life is worth it all.

First came the pressure spots under my legs which have been there for several years now – no doubt a by-product of being seated in a wheelchair for over sixty years. This condition has fluctuated in intensity over recent times until, right now, small ulcers have developed which makes being seated on them rather painful. Additional padding and a brand new cushion on a brand new wheelchair have done little to ease this. But, as always, keeping my mind occupied on other things has made it bearable.

Remember, I live alone with just 2 – 3 visits per day from my team of support workers and am seated ALL day in my powered wheelchair, which acts as my only means of mobility.

Next came the flu – first time in three years. I had bragged to my carers that my thrice-weekly dialysis treatments (which began three years ago), whilst being very time-consuming, had developed my immune system to the point where I didn’t pick up any of the usual bugs or nasties that came floating around me, particularly at the onset of winter.

Now, however, sniffles became snuffles, followed by a dripping nose and hacking cough – not nice! At this point, my dialysis doctor prescribed an antibiotic called cephalexin – one I had taken before with some side effects which I couldn’t recall. Then I developed an extremely irritated and itchy skin (ah, NOW I remembered!) which kept me awake and scratching most of each night.

One has cause to wonder where our medicos get their training as, a few days later, I looked up the medical dictionary on my computer where it clearly states (quote): ‘Cephalexin will not treat a viral infection such as the common cold or flu’.

My dialysis nurses told me to stop taking the cephalexin, hence my dialysis INTERN doctor switched me on to another antibiotic called nufloxib.

Then came the diarrohea. Definitely the backside of life!

A few weeks back, I took delivery of my first new powered wheelchair in more than eight years. Valued at $12,000 when new, this was a demo model from a company in Geelong. Fortunately for me, the government provides funding for special equipment such as wheelchairs, so I was more than happy to accept it. This new model has four speeds, tilt-back mechanism and enables me to raise the seat to a new high where I can actually look down on most people who are seated!

I will try to get a photograph of the new 'rolls' for my next blog... stay tuned.

Saturday, May 26, 2012


I'm getting in a bit earlier this time because, although May has not quite ended, my social activity has ceased, so I can report the results now.

Are you ready for this? With lumps in my ticker and tears in my eyes I must report a couple of crappy occasions:

Wednesday 23. My book launch in Geelong was a non-event. Roberta and I travelled the long journey by car and, after a brief look around the CBD window shopping and having lunch, we set up at the local library for a busy afternoon of talking to dozens of old and new friends, signing books and, hopefully, at least covering the costs of petrol expenses and accommodation. The library had done a magnificent job of advertising our visit with a large poster at the entrance, but both of the local newspapers had ignored the media releases and photographs I had sent them several days earlier and they printed nary a word.

Two hours and NO (not even one) people later, we decided to 'pull the plug' and head back home to Bendigo. Over those two hours, however, we had chatted with two members of the library staff who were most helpful with tips and suggestions of how to go about promoting my book, so we returned home feeling all was not lost.

Two weeks earlier I had sent an autographed copy of my book to Sam Newman at the AFL Footy Show on Channel 9, referring to the fact that I knew Bill Brownless (a regular on the show and former player of the Geelong Football Club) and had made reference in the book of how I used to 'play football' in my bed when I was a child.

I asked Sam if he would be so kind as to mention on the show that I was coming to Geelong for a book launch, but I received neither acknowledgement of the book nor a mention on the show. That didn't particularly surprise me though because I realise the show must be inundated with these sorts of requests, but I thought an acknowledgement would have been nice.

Saturday 26. An asthmatic, Roberta attended the Bendigo RSL Club with me, where we had dinner and that was all for her. The proposed respite care she had engaged for her three young children at home advised her she could only stay from 6 to 8 p.m. which meant poor Roberta had to return home virtually straight away to contend both with her children and her asthma, instead of having a night out being entertained by The Impalas on their "Last Night Stand".

I stayed there at the club until 10.30 and tried to enjoy myself, but it just wasn't the same without my date. My brother Geoff (who was in the band on their last engagement after 48 years in show business) and their families were there, together with my daughter Leanne, and I chatted with them of course, but my heart was elsewhere.

So much for my May Mayhem! This all discourages me somewhat for future social activity, but I'll bounce back for another go no doubt when/if an opportunity presents itself. Meanwhile I'll try to stay warm and keep thinking about a trip to New Zealand - maybe in the Summer!


I look at 'blogging' as being a gathering of people I care about who care about me. Of course , I could be wrong - they may not care about me at all, but that's of no real significance to me, because I still care about them.

Anyway, here we all are... called together by me, just so I can open my heart and waffle on about things that are important to me, including things that have annoyed me, upset me, confused me, touched me, made me happy, made me sad, made me whinge or complain, laugh, cry, or just plain made me want to reach out to someone who is prepared to listen. I can't do this on a one-on-one basis, because it may be too confronting for either or both of us, but I still need to open up and get it out of my system, so I figure this is the best way to do it... maybe I'm wrong, but it's my way (good name for a song?).

How you react is entirely up to you. You can ignore it or act as you wish - laugh with me, cry with me or simply delete it... it's entirely up to you. It's serving it's purpose by just being released from my mind. The fact that I invited you to be amongst its recipients is because I trust you - this is just between you and me, yet it can be shared between us all. Again, that's up to you. Am I crazy? Probably, but - as I said a few lines back - it's my way.

Respond if you wish to comment or offer advice by sending me a personal message to my regular email address... and please feel free to speak your mind. Nothing you say will upset me in any way. The mere fact that you are interested enough in reading my blog makes it all worthwhile.

Now, having said all that, there will be a new blog a'waiting in your box within the next hour or so (it's 2.15 p.m. on Sunday, May 27 right now) at the usual address – it’s at

Until next time, cheers from Colin

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


April certainly passed by very quickly with all my activity, even though things didn't work out exactly as planned.   For example, my attendance at Good News Week at the Melbourne Town Hall on April 14 looked like falling in a heap early that morning when my proposed 'date', Roberta, pulled out through illness.   Luckily, however, I remembered a friend in Melbourne by name of Barbara.   I phoned her at work (she is a nurse) and everything fell back into place.   She agreed to meet at the Town Hall and see the show with me, thus making good use of the extra ticket I had purchased.  

We agreed later that the show was very disorganised and the constant use of four-letter words was most unnecessary.  Not to worry, we saw the show and I caught the train home with 20 seconds to spare!

April 21.   Then came the Golden Wedding Anniversary of my old mate Harry Wilkinson and his charming wife Glenda, held at the Old Flour Mill Gallery in Euroa;  a very interesting and picturesque place and a wonderful afternoon of conviviality with friends of old was had by all.   Again Roberta was unable to make it with me, so Tracey, another of my support workers, agreed to drive the accessible van I had hired to get us there... she also enjoyed the meal and cordiality. 

April 29.   Next was my birthday barbecue.   The weather was kind and 16 of the 60 I had invited accepted and came along to an afternoon of good tucker, good music (provided by my dear and extremely talented brother Geoff on guitar) and superb fellowship.   Geoff, incidentally, has just launched his own first book, titled "Ways to Identify Purpose and Meaning" from the Curriculum for Whole Living Series.   Contact me if you wish to know more about it.

Now for May.   On the 2nd, I took Roberta and her family out for dinner at the Bendigo Club who had sent me a meal voucher for my birthday.   Having three young children to take care of and being a sole parent, she doesn't get out to socialise very often.

May 23.   We head to Geelong for the launch of my book, "If I Can Do It..." at the local Library.   After having lived in Geelong for 26 years I hope to see a few familiar and friendly faces there at the occasion.

May 26.   After many many years (at least 40) on the dance band scene, "The Impalas" will hold their farewell night at the Bendigo RSL Club.   My brother Geoff, who has been their lead guitarist/vocalist for most of that time, will be featured so, of course, I will be in attendance to witness his final performance with the group.  

My New Zealand plans remain unresolved with no travel partner offering to accompany me, while my facial neuralgia has diminished, thanks to the doctor's prescribed medication.

Friday, April 6, 2012


I have decided again that it's time to dust off the cobwebs and become more sociable after giving up on ever finding "Ms Right For Me" (not their fault - I'm too hard to please, but I have been spoiled in the past).   Anyway, I'm booked in to attend the TV recording of "Good News Week" at Melbourne Town Hall on April 14th (staying overnight in the big smoke), then - one week later - I travel to Euroa to join in the Golden Wedding celebrations of my old mate Harry Wilkinson and his wife Glenda.   On both of these occasions I will be partnered by my support worker and friend, Roberta Exell.  

At April's end (29th) I will celebrate another milestone with a barbecue at the home of my daughter and son-in-law, Leanne and Craig with a trip to Geelong one week later to give an author talk and book signing at the Geelong Library... that's four week-ends in a row of social activity!

This all means a shuffling of my dialysis treatments, but the staff at the Bendigo dialysis unit have been very helpful in this area and have encouraged me all the way to be as active as I possibly can.   I am even considering a trip interstate or overseas (New Zealand?) later in the year if dialysis treatments can be slotted into my itinerary three times a week... and I can find a travel partner - any takers?

In anticipation of all this merry-making, I plan to spend a very quiet Easter at home with my computer and support workers to keep me company.   My daughter and grandsons presented me with a box of Cadbury chocolates today, so they will also feature on my list of priorities!

One little health hiccup recently is a constant stabbing of a nerve in the left cheek (of my face) which affects every time I eat, particularly when chewing.   Originally diagnosed and treated with anti-biotics for sinusitis, I am seeking a second opinion from my G.P. next week.   Being unable to enjoy my meals is certainly not my idea of having fun.

You can expect to hear from me again early in May with a report on all the above events... including whether a travel partner has appeared on the scene!