It’s a quiet Thursday here. My husband is at the volunteer job that Centrelink made him find, and he will be home later in a completely crippled, hunched and crying-out-in pain state. I am enjoying the quiet here, and I’ve been reading a Cornwell book that I’m enjoying. I’ve done some writing, spent time on Facebook, washed out the kitchen cupboards and picked the ripe citrus off our trees.
I’m antsy, though. Waiting for hubby to get home and fall into bed, begging for pain killers. Waiting to watch him try to walk around our tiny house, shuffling like a ninety year old. I am waiting to see how he is, so I can write about it. I’ve decided I can’t sit back and watch any more. I can’t watch his agony and help him and say nothing about the fact that he is jumping through hoops for the government, despite a clear report from his doctor that he is permanently in acute pain.
I’ve attended a couple of his Centrelink appointments with him, but it’s hard for me to do that with my mental illness issues. The staff go through the motions, show him which forms he needs to fill out, refer him to one of the employment agencies and tell him he must do a minimum of two days volunteering per week. I’m here to tell you, he can’t walk to the corner shop. Not ever. He is in agony. If he sits in one position for more than ten minutes, he cries out in pain and then continues to cry out in pain as he manoeuvres into the next position, maybe on the other ruined hip, and cries out in pain. He can’t do anything around our home for more than about ten minutes, without terrible pain. How can the government require him to do volunteer work, in the amount of pain he is in, so he can be allowed to be given the minimum amount of money as a job seeker? Utter insanity, in my opinion. Cruel, torturous, insanity.
We go shopping for food once a fortnight. We go out together, me with my crazy head, and he with his tortured body. He sits on a bench near the supermarket, in terrible pain, while I swing around the aisles as quickly as I can, trying not to make eye contact with anyone. At the end of each aisle, I’m looking for him, to see how much pain he’s in, and I hurry on to try and get finished before he reaches an utterly unbearable level of pain.
I often forget things, in my hurry to get back to the car, back to the safe haven of our home. Then he lies down, crying out in pain, and I unpack the car, as quickly as I can. Or he helps me unload, crying out in agony with each load.
I’m grateful we live in a country where we are given money to live on when we can’t work. Don’t think I’m ungrateful, and don’t think I don’t know that there are people a lot worse off than us, I know some of those people! But, truly, why is my man made to volunteer in agony, when he worked hard all of his life, part of it for the Department of Defence as a tradesman, he has paid his taxes his whole life, has always worked, never bludged? Why does the government make him volunteer? Let me tell you it is doing nothing for his quality of life. It is doing nothing to make him ‘feel useful’ as they say.
Thanks for listening to me rant about this. It’s something I have no handle on. If I could find a way to cure him, I would, god knows we’ve tried every mainstream and alternative healing we have found and not a one of them has relieved his suffering. If I could find a way to afford to tell the government that we don’t need their money, so he no longer has to do their volunteer work, I would do it. In the meantime I just shake my head, offer him a hot water bottle for his spine, a warm blanket for the joints in his feet, knees, hips and hands, some pain killers. I cook his favourite foods, hold his hand and tell him that one day we might be free of the ‘help’ we need from the government, but I truly don’t know how.
Thanks so much for listening. xx
be you xx Rachel