Sunday the 2nd of March
I am sitting here listening to music. So what does Sue Macauley listen to? I LOVE all music from classical to hard rock and punk, but as I am writing this I am listening to the wonderful voice of Darren Hayes (lead singer of the now disbanded SAVAGE GARDEN)
I am going back into hospital tomorrow. I have been to this hospital almost 40 times since I was 15. It's actually a lovely hospital called the Calvary and it is run by nuns. No matter what your religion, the nuns pray for every person in morning chapel that are having operations that day. They also visit with you. Sister Mary comes and speaks to me for a while, holds my hand and blesses me. She knows I am Buddhist, but that matters nothing to them. They love all, just as I do. I respect all religions and love everyone.
I used to enjoy going into the Calvary because I always get a private room with a tv and a lovely view over the Parklands that surround Adelaide. But they rang me this week with the news that because I now have sleep apnea, I have to go into Critical Care after the operation. That means people all around me, the lights never go off, I will be hooked up to monitors again and they go off when I fall asleep because of my apnea. And there are people moaning, in pain, bells and beepers going off all the time and it really is impossible to sleep. And you can't have visitors at certain times and there is no privacy anyway. I have had private health insurance since I was 15 years old. I enjoyed the private room and bathroom after my ops, but those days are over now. It is so sad for me that my illness is now dictating and changing my life and situations. I pay a lot of money to insure myself and to get good treatment in hospital. But anyway, at least if something does happen, I have a 24 hour nurse available in the high dependency unit.
Despite the fact that the op is painful and I pass blood for about a week, I have a feeling of peace and bliss over me at the moment. I have been immersing myself in spiritual reading and thought lately and even though I am about to have my 47th op, I feel that my troubles and illness are a gift and a blessing to me, because I feel that my story may be of help to others who are also suffering. If I can get through these things, then we all can and I pray daily for ways to serve others. I am not trying to praise myself or be big headed, don't get me wrong, but I have a great desire to make a difference to peoples lives and I am willing to give myself up to become a tool to do that. If I can take on anothers suffering and free them from it, I gladly would. I so want people to be happy. I would give away my last possesion to another if I thought they needed it.
I also feel happy myself today, even though I know I have a lot to face in the next few months. I know people are praying for me, so perhaps I am being enveloped in care and support. I can't wait to get all these operations out of the way and move to Tasmania. David and I are determined to find a rural haven where we can become totally self sufficient and if that means sleeping in a tent while we build a house (and we will build it - not others, we will build it by hand) then we will do it. I am willing to give up all comforts to reach our goal of a simple life living with each other and using natural resources only. No more chemical cleaners, and only home grown vegetables, home made bread, solar energy, composting no flush toilets and paying the government as little as possible. I know we will do it. We will either buy a property with a shack and extend it into a home, or build a strawbale or mudbrick house ourselves. Just David, my dog, my bird and I. Somewhere away from everyone with an open fire and about 7000 books to read (oh boy to I feel sorry for the removal company when they see how many books we have!!) Defence pay for our complete removal, they pack and then unpack at the next location (poor guys). They also pay us to travel to our new location and pay so much to us per day for petrol food and motel accomodation. This is usually more than you need and we will do what most people do and use the money left over to buy a trailer, and take some things ourselves etc. We will need a trailer for later in Tassie I am sure.
Lately we have been devouring all the books and mags we have on self sufficiency and permiculture and natural house building etc. e have about 300 books and mags on the subject. The other day David made a lantern out of a glass jar, a small amount of vegetable oil and a small scrap of material for a wic and an old coathanger. It was truly amazing, it just burns and burns and is cheaper than candles even and is completely safe because if you knock it over, the oil puts out the flame. Davids army training will also come in very handy in Tassie. He knows everything about survival, camping etc. It is going to be such an adventure. I think I would like to live as they did in the early 1900's. I have always been drawn to the era and the simple way of life.
I just wish we could go now. Well better list some auctions. That makes us the pocket money we need to start getting things for our move.
love and light to you all
Friday the 21st of Feb
Well it's Davids night role playing a simulated Military war game with his friends and I am enjoying some time alone. Our neighbour has spent a long time writing a role-playing game (I proof-read it) and my husband and some other blokes are trying it to see if there are any bugs in it before they try to get it published. Unfortunately one of the blokes has now been sent to get ready for the war in Iraq and is no overseas - and he is not the only one. I live in an army suburb and many of the families here have lost their dad or husband to the war preparations overseas. Some women are pregnant and will have their baby alone with their partner overseas. It is very sad and we are all affected here. And if our security level goes up one more notch, we will return to how we were after Septemeber 11. Our whole suburb of 5 streets are road blocked and guarded by army vehicles and men in full battle gear on guard all night. There is only one way you are allowed to drive in and out and you have to show your id at the checkpoint and tell them where you are going, why and how long you will be gone. The poor men have to do lots of extra guard duties and become exhausted as they still have to work their normal daily jobs etc. In a way we are really really lucky. You see David got out just in time, as he was attached to a military unit in Sydney and could have been sent too, but he is now discharged and I couldn't be more relieved. But we still have the protection of living in this military area and no one can hurt us in here. We are kept very very safe. It is a relief. Each night on the news, David sees people he knows from here on the footage, firing missiles etc. We are an ir defence area Base and it's people like our men who are sent to war. Naturally the SAS guys go too but they can't wait to get there and train for this all their military lives. They often get frustrated that they cannot put their amazing skills to the use of defending Australia and they are champing at the bit to go. These men are usually single men who are highly skilled and trained and live for the chance to go into battle for their country. So for them, I pray they will be safe and am glad for them that they are getting what they want. But it is the other men from here, just houses away from me that are now overseas that I worry and pray over. A servicemans wife is a very big ask of strength and courage.
I am having another operation on the 3rd for my bladder, nothing major and I have had dozens of this. Dont get me wrong, they are painful and I pass blood for a week or so, but I have had so many of these that they do not phase me one bit.
There has been a change to the problems and future operations for my sleep apnea. I have only just found out that I stop breathing 70 times a night and my oxygen is dropping to about 84%. There are people with worse apnea than me, but combined with 2 incurable diseases, depression and all my tablets - well, it kinda sucks really. It is making my blood pressure soar and now I have to take blood pressure tabs too. I am now a heart attack just waiting to happen. That's how I feel. But funnily enough, I am also really happy. David is with me all day now. He is my lover and my best friend. He does care for me very well and is being fantastic by doing housework etc.
well till next time.
Sunday the 16th of February 2003
Well tomorrow is the day I meet with the Specialist and find out my 'fate' for the next few months. I will know by the end of the meeting, how many more operations I will need and if indeed I will be having the tongue operation. He has already said I need it. I don't see much possiblity of not having it done, so I must get used to the fact that the risk is I may not be able to have the gift of normal speech anymore.
A few days ago, my beautiful statue of Buddha fell over in my garden and it took its head off in a clean break. Obviously I was very upset (it was a very special statue that David had bought for me). I saw it as a bad sign. I actually thought, well "Thats that then". David said the head can be mended with cement glue and you will hardly see the break. I know the essence of Buddhism is that there is no such thing as permanence and that should help me deal with the loss of the perfection of the statue, but I admit to reading more into it. Only time will tell
Wednesday the 13th of February
A sad day for me. Many tears and I sent out another request for prayer to the members of the club (I hope it doesn't annoy anyone). On Monday, I have to make decisions that will greatly affect my future life and may even take my life. The numbers game is set against me. How many operations can my sick useless body take? I'm up to 47 and the next ops are dangerous - very dangerous. Am I up to the task of the pain? And am I up to the task of the possibility of losing my speech and not being able to speak well? I may sound like a deaf person afterwards.
My life is in the hands of a higher power. I have asked for prayer again and I have to stop the tears and remind myself that everything that happens in my life, including the bad things, is a blessing. To date, my illness gave me the time to write and share the gift of laughter with over 3000 people who have bought my silly little book. I do understand that what will be, will be for the best and I need to find courage. This is the biggest crossroads I have ever had to be at. Which way I go from here will mean a great difference in my life. Please God, let me continue to sing. Please Buddha, allow me to serve in some way with this situation. Somehow, if a miracle is possible and I have my tongue lasered away, I pray to be able to continue singing. I cry as I find myself singing now, suddenly realising that soon this may not be possible. So I pray for courage.
On a brighter note, my Aunty came back from OS today and my Mum is safely home from her Brissie trip and back in Townsville. This is my family. I'm glad they are home if I need them. They are 2 women I greatly admire and yet, even though they are sisters, they are so very very different - but my admiration for them is great! They are strong women. They have seen adversity and overcome it. I was always strong. Guess I just have to find my strength again.
love and light
Saturday the 9th of February 2003
Last night, my husband hosted his fortnightly role-playing here at our home. I was in my bedroom, reading and on the phone with a darling member of the club who was saddened by the loss of a family member this week. I rang and we spoke for about an hour about life and grief. I shared my thoughts with her about my own faith in Buddhist philosphy and what I believed and how I managed with the death of 3 of my family members and 2 of my pets in the last 18 months. It was a positive and loving conversation and we explored our thoughts of what happens when we pass over and I hope that solace comes to this member and she can move on with her life, knowing now that her lost relative is now no longer tied to a body in another country, and actually able to be right by her side now - watching over her. She in fact already feels that.
The rest of the night (until 1.30 in the morning) I read as David slept, caught up in a Buddhist book. This happens to me so often. I only want to read a few pages but cannot stop once I start. Currently I have 7 books on my bedside table by the Dalai Lama who I consider my spiritual leader. I was reading about how all religions (according to his Holiness) are all similar and that we should never think that one religion is right and above another. It all comes down to motivation. All religions in general, focus on bringing out the good in people and moving them to love and cherish each other and to feel compassion for each other. Like in the bible "do unto others, as you would have them do unto you". Buddhism is simply a series of steps and noble truths, that when followed, allows a person to become the best that they can be, monitoring their thoughts second by second and ensuring that at all times, we put others before us and feel compassion for them and wherever possible, we take on the suffering of others (this is a difficult concept for many to understand, but in future entries, I will expand on this). All humans desire one thing - happiness. If we realise this, then it follows naturally that we on this earth are one family. Despite colour, creed, location, sex or age - we all want to be happy. This makes us all brothers and sisters. With this in mind, we can after much practice, learn also to love our enemies who again, are only acting on what they think will bring them happiness.
These are the things I was reading about last night. Also about how the Dalai Lama has spent much time with the leaders of all the religious orders of our world and how he truly believes in God, that Jesus walked this earth, as did Buddha and how if you condense the essences of all these religious orders down into their base beliefs - they are all the same and have the much the same aim. So we should love everyone, regardless of their beliefs and NEVER put down another for being of a different religious group.
Love and light to you
Friday the 8th of February 2003
Today, I decided to add an online journal to my homepage. I am a student in the philosophy of this life we are given, and just like you the reader, I ponder many things during my day. In this diary, I will write down my thoughts. Record them, both for myself and for anyone else who cares to read them.
We are at a time in our life when turning on the News at night has become a horrific and frightening occurance. War is looming and disasters are everywhere. Where can we turn when everything around seems to be suffering and sadness. Inwards. We turn inwards. This diary will be about my inward journey, my internal searching for the meaning of this life. Join me in it and may anything I share with you, bless you.