BEGINNING OF ADVENTURES
10 December 2007
In December 2007 (9years after her surgery), she looked so uninspired and gaunt, had the thought to take her to Underwater World as she'd been a keen fisherwomanall her life. I kept joking with her saying that this was her chance to see "all the ones that got away". Taking her out for that day was with the thought that tshe probably didn't have much time left .. so took many photos to have for the memories.
It had been an enjoyable day seeing all the different marine creatures and after dropping her home, kept noticing how phenomenal the sunset was - both on the Woody Point / Clontarf waterfront and as I was driving down the Deagon Deviation Highway. This is the highway that passes Dot's 5 acres and a few minutes after passing her land, the sunset was just too beautiful not to photograph. I pulled off the highway onto a very narrow strip and had to take the photo very quickly because of where I had stopped. After quickly taking the first photo, I lowered the camera to see when it was OK to take the next shot. As the viewfinder passed my eyes, in a nano second, I was aware there was a very bright circle of light in the shot and thought it odd seeing as there was no moon. Didn't check further, just took the second shot as soon as the first one had loaded. Put the camera on the seat and drove home.
At home, when the images were downloaded, a lot of the interior shots at Underwater World were dark and because I didn't know if that was going to be the last outing, lightened them so I would have a proper memory.
As soon as I lightened the photo of Dot in the tunnel, my hand went to my mouth. Many times during her life she had spoken of seeing a mist in her hospital room when her 4th child passed away the day he was born. Her mother and sister had also spoken of seeing mists at the time of other family members passing. Behind Dot was what looked like a circling mist and my instant association was that it meant a sign of loss. There were also orbs in the photo. The first photo of her shows the mist and orbs closer. Whatever the explanation for them, it was an overwhelming coincidence to past history.
The sunset photos also had a similar anomaly. There was no rain or water on the lens of the camera and yet there are many distinct orbs in the first photo and what I had glimpsed when taking the shot was a really bright orb. The next photo taken only seconds after in the same conditions from the same location had none.
These photos were taken December 10, 2007.
Less than two weeks later, Dot had an unexpected brief seizure - the first one she had ever had in her life.
The omen of the mist had had some substance.
Prior to this seizure, her hands had been virtually permanently clenched, she had all but given up eating and hadn't been able to speak so one would expect that she would have worse symptoms after a seizure. In fact, she did the complete opposite. Visiting her in hospital, her hands were relaxed and unfolded just resting on the bed normally and her eyes were vital and sparkling, almost youthful. When she was in the ward later, she ate a three course meal and also said three words as clear as a bell. It was a totally unexpected improvement in health after that seizure. Looking into her eyes, they were almost mischievous and playful .. if I could have put words to her look .. they would have been ..
" I'm back and ready to start enjoying life! "
Dec 21 2007 after seizure
From that moment on, there was a shift in thinking. If she had passed away at that time, what would she have missed out on?
What could she have done with the time she had left?
In essence, it became a case of living life backwards.
There is a time when our life is over so why not look from that point and see what is possible to achieve before that happens.
An ordinary person can decide to go to the movies, for a drive, go on holiday, visit friends or even just browse the shops .. she couldn't doany of that for herselft .. so her life had revolved around her home environment, where she lived, medical appointments, routine family functions and being confined. Others her age had the freedom to socialize, travel around Australia or holiday overseas.
When she was discharged from hospital, began the idea of setting aside at least two days a week for her to do something different.
There was no model for what that would be .. it started as simply as taking her for walks in the wheelchair along the Redcliffe beachfront and out onto the jetty; getting professional manicures and pedicures; going for specific drives into the country and stopping at different places to eat. As can be seen from the index of her adventures, each outing created the enthusiasm to try another and they became more and more fun.
"LOCKED IN PERSONALITY"
Usually when we go out with someone, our cues are taken from their responses and their conversation.
Dot had neither of these therefore the activities were about just providing different stimulation and environments.
There are many cases where people in a coma are still spoken to as if they were alert .. and there are cases which record that when the person comes out of the coma, they can tell what was said to them while they were apparently non-responsive.
There was nothing to lose by doing the same thing with Dot.
A long time later, I saw a documentary which was about a lady and a man who had been in vegetative states and unable to communicate.
Later on, they found ways (one by blinking eyes and the other by speech) to speak about what it was like to still be totally alive inside a body that was non-responsive. Many treated them as non-functioning and yet they still had thoughts, reactions and mental capacity but couldn't convey them.
Causes could be from any number of conditions - stroke, accident, brain injury or tumour.
The term is "locked in personality" .. the person appears to have no comprehension as they can't speak or communicate as we do .. but for those who go through it and regain the capacity to communicate, they offer us the lesson that there is more to a person that just the physical exterior.
60 minutes website: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/11/04/60minutes/main4570731.shtml
Where would Steven Hawking be if he hadn't been able to speak or communicate? And what brilliance would the world have missed out on?
By treating her as if some part of her was registering the experiences, she simply became a woman called Dot again .. however this Dot was unable to speak. As Dot's daughter, It was up to me to fill in the silence.
AND SO THE ADVENTURES BEGAN ..