(Beautiful photo from the collection of Arsh Matharu Photography)
Chapter Twenty-Two (2003 ~ 32 years)
Love Grows Within and Without
‘To be yourself requires extraordinary intelligence. You are blessed with that intelligence; nobody need give it to you; nobody can take it away from you. He who lets that express itself in its own way is a 'Natural Man'.’ ~ U. G. Krishnamurti
By 2003 I became serious about improving my health and sought a new course of bio-quantum homeopathy drops made specifically to one’s saliva. Peter Fraser—the homeopath I heard about at the Ammachi retreat last year—had kindly sent me trial drops on examining my saliva, which made a subtle difference. My symptoms slowly worsened after using them, but my hands and arms felt remarkably stronger and lighter, so I sent another saliva swab in the mail and Peter sent me a new course of herbal drops.
I took them away with me to Byron Bay on a holiday Sarah gave me as a birthday gift. Her generous gift reached the skies when we flew in a small plane to Ballina Airport. Mum trusted me going away with Sarah; her reputation of being physically sturdy convinced everyone she’d manage. She did more than manage!
Signs that we may have bitten off more than we could manage showed in the car on the way to Sydney. Sarah and Paul drove up from Sydney to get me, and I chose to sit in the backseat on the return journey wishing to readopt sitting comfortably anywhere in a car. Nevertheless, without being as firmly supported as one is when sitting in the front seat and without my arm slightly hanging out the window to secure me for a smoother ride around corners, I became carsick half way there and hurriedly vomited into a dog’s dish conveniently kept under the backseat for Sarah’s dogs. We immediately pulled over and happily there was a man hosing plants on the highway roadside who lent us the hose, and then I transferred into the front seat compliments of Paul’s strong muscles lifting me in. My habit of travelling in the front seat over the past few years made more sense than ever.
I felt fine for rest of the afternoon and night with Sarah and friends seating comfortably on the couch, but had a cold by morning. I used many tissues, coughed all day and night, and the next morning we left for the airport. On the plane, I felt slightly sick again, incubated by cold air-conditioning and air-sockets blowing directly on me, which was nice at the time.
The plane arrived at Ballina airport an hour and a half later, and the dismount was as colourful as boarding had been in Sydney. Crane, machines, and devices took the place of strong men, concerned about compensation if something went wrong carrying a passenger. Although they didn’t say this, I understood the reason, and appreciated the fun and friendliness of my helpers!
Outside the airport a friendly taxi-man smiled at me said, ‘It’s going to rain. The cows are sitting in the centre of the paddock’, While Sarah went to collect our hire-car, I delighted at the sight of cows sitting in the middle of a paddock next to an airport, and at the warm and open people living up to their laid-back reputation! Low clouds heightened the muggy climate and the thrill of being somewhere new outweighed my brewing sickness.
We were staying at the Byron Bay Rainforest Resort also known as the wheelchair friendly Byron Bay Wheels Resort, with a pool for wheelchair access. We didn’t take advantage of the pool when we arrived, but Sarah made the rooms comfortable and we went into Byron for a food shop and drive. Originally, we were to share a one-room cabin, but Sarah decided to upgrade and now a kitchen and bathroom separated two rooms! More than a wise move!
Driving through Byron was as if stepping back in time and the folks hoped to keep it that way by disallowing fast food chains into the area, for example. A population increase caused some locals to complain, but they still smiled and greeted people in a friendly relaxed, life-is-good fashion!
Bryon Bay, northern New South Wales, is a hip and happening place to celebrate summer! People from diverse lifestyles, dress colourfully and walk the streets unhurried, happy-go-lucky, in Australia’s carefree capital. The beaches are gorgeous, the headlands dramatic, and the country side, a glorious green. I drank in my new surroundings and chatted to people while Sarah purchased food and necessities in the supermarket. We then drove around the town and back to our resort, in a rainforest area of the bay.
The resort was a little paradise, trees everywhere, dotted with colourful birds singing their song. We were upmarket camping amid beautiful nature, sitting in a screened outdoor area adjoining our rooms, playing music video on cable. I was in heaven, until the plastic outdoor chair I’d been sitting on for hours became uncomfortable, and the only other seat was my bed. This place was very wheelchair friendly—it was the only secure seat in the hut, unless I was sitting on the bed! It didn’t matter, I was so grateful to be there and my discomfort eased as I worked on Sarah’s laptop absorbing the tropical atmosphere! Aromas soon permeated the scene from Sarah’s cooking, following which we drank white wine and stayed amongst the night time air talking of many things.
The next day we went for a roll in my wheelchair. While we had been eating breakfast in our outdoor screened area, the cute groundsman at the resort stopped to chat with us and encouraged us to walk a ‘short’ distance to the beach to see great views. But his suggestion quickly lost appeal as Sarah grew hot and tired pushing the chair a very long distance in denim jeans, and the destination brought us no joy, as we couldn’t get near the beach because of sandy access tracks and rubber wheels. Sarah insisted she could piggyback me, but I couldn’t help her help me if we fell.
We returned to the resort from the now burning sun, and once home, I rested in bed while Sarah swam and sunbaked by the pool, recuperating. My little sickness was re-emerging, but that wasn’t going to hinder me having the massage and facial Sarah had also bought as a gift for my birthday! We stayed in that night, and the next morning we received a Bowen Technique treatment, which is holistic system of healing, and another gift from amazing Sarah!
After the Bowen healing, we went into Byron and met with Jaimini—the beautiful man I met at the Ammachi Retreat! Sitting in the sun at a cool café, smiling into his smiling face and sharing the smiles and loving energy with Sarah was pure joy. We spoke of the love of women, and how the nurturing mother in all of us has the ability to transform the world! We spoke of Amma and her astounding transcendent love, and of Jaimini’s recent time at Ammachi’s actual ashram in Kerala, India. We arranged to meet again at the Byron Bay Beach Hotel on our last night.
One evening stood between now and then, and Sarah wanted to go out to dinner. A natural wish when on holiday, except what I needed was another night in, but I made the effort for Sarah… so grateful for her birthday gifts to me! After a visit to the Byron Bay Lighthouse at the eastern most point of Australia, we went home and had another rest before we drove through the Byron Bay countryside, to see its beauty.
The scenery was stunning; however, I was nauseous driving along the winding hillsides. I concealed this as best as possible from Sarah as it was her holiday too and I couldn’t ruin it because of a little sickness. Even so, at the restaurant, I cried in surrender of my sickly state. After a nourishing, protein-packed bowl of miso soup, I felt better and we called Mum. By then, my sadness and sickness were imperceptible, and Mum was a comforting angel, unaware of how much I needed her!
Bed that night was a repeat of the previous nights, except worse. Firstly, I finally had the vomit that had been haunting me for the last 24 hours into a plastic waste bag beside my bed, and later in the night, my body overheated with extreme night-sweats. I attempted hazardous movements removing my singlet top, pushing it downwards, which was silly because my legs wouldn’t bend, and I couldn’t sit up. My sudden exasperation and efforts caused me to fall off the bed, landing wedged between the bed and bedside table in a banana spear-like position.
There was nowhere to go; I tried wiggling out, but to no gain. All I could do was call, ‘Sarah, Sarah’!
She heard and came quickly from her bedroom.
‘Oh honey.’ She was so sympathetic and could see I was crying, effortlessly lifted me back onto the bed.
‘Is that all from you?’ Sarah questioned, remarking on my wet sheets.
‘Yes, I’m so hot!’ Alas, we didn’t put the fan on for fear of me catching a chill.
I was going through a major purification process, I told myself. Experiencing a type of karmic cleansing, triggered perhaps by this holiday near the northern NSW Mountains where I might move to one day. So I hoped I was clearing out for what Shastri said was to come.
I felt better on waking the next morning and took my second swim in the wheelchair friendly pool. A woman who broke her spine in a motorbike accident years earlier had designed the pool and transformed a sun-bed into a waterproof wheelchair using bicycle wheels. I took advantage of this having not been in a swimming pool for years.
The buoyancy of water opposed to gravity was like entering another world, and this world supported unmoving legs and encouraged upper body activity! We swam the length of the pool and around its edges. I guided myself along the railings and as my confidence grew, I bounced up and down in the middle of the pool to maintain a standing position, resting at the sitting areas to prolong energy! All up, I took three swims during the holiday due to the pool’s magnificent accessibility, regardless of my strange sickness. I thanked the drops for their protective properties against the muggy climate, and blamed the influenza injection I had late last year for causing my first ever flu.
That night we met Jaimini as planned, and again I delighted at his effervescent presence. He told us he was the local groover, which became increasingly obvious as the night went by seeing him dancing so upbeat—I wished I could have danced with him…his heightened energy at 62 years was amazing! Everyone smiled seeing him celebrate life and love! His face radiated love for all; his ecstasy was infectious! We were fortunate to know him.
We stayed to the end of Norman Jay—a cool English disk jockey, and dropped Jamini home on our way home. It didn’t take long for me to go to the bathroom and get out of the wheelchair and into bed. Midway through the night, my fever increased and for the third night running, I had great difficulty trying to go to the toilet into the saucepan on the floor bedside my bed. Because of the fever, my legs were so stiff, they wouldn’t bend, and it was a blessing cork tiling was underneath me instead of carpet, as I wee-ed lying on my belly. The cork tiling was good for such accidents, but not good for pressing my knees down heavily for the necessary push to heave myself back onto the bed. After four nights, my kneeswere so sore and sensitive, and the bed was becoming harder for my troubled body to climb up onto.
After many attempts trying to do the impossible without strength, I called, ‘Sarah, Sarah’, to the rescue again. She was so strong and managed this task as if it was simple…
‘Sarah I feel so sick and helpless,’ I uttered to her and we knew the fan was necessary, because the heat and the fever were causing me almost complete debilitation.
The final morning came for us to go home, but getting there was another obstacle. I sat beside a window on the sunny side of the small plane, cooking my sickly state. Although the view was superb, I eventually swapped seats with Sarah… The cooler location didn’t bring me much more relief; but, a quick little, no-fuss vomit into an aeroplane bag did the trick.
Sarah continued to be empathetic with me during the long and difficult process home. At Sydney airstrip, the crane for the special wheelchair was delayed in reaching our plane, and once outside the airport, we had trouble fitting into a taxi with my wheelchair and Sarah’s two-in-one bag! We were finally successful and found an Indian driver who spoke of colourful India, and at last, we reached Sarah’s house. Paul greeted us, and gave me a piggyback ride all the way into the house and onto the lounge. I was deeply grateful for Paul’s strength in carrying me, and the comfort of the lounge! The situation seemed to be improving.
At bedtime, my illness rose again. Sarah set up the sofa lounge for me as she did nights before, but this time sleeping in it would have been hazardous. After getting out off the sofa for my final loo stop in the potty before sleeping, I couldn’t bend my legs again, and couldn’t do a wee. My fever was too high to release any liquids and I had no strength to pull myself back into bed.
‘Sarah, can I sleep on the floor?’ I pleaded.
‘Of course,’ she said, and set about packing up the sofa lounge, placing lounge pillows on the wooden floorboards.
‘No Sarah, I need to sleep on the floor. I don’t want to ruin the cushions from your beautiful lounge!’ Sarah wouldn’t hear of this and proceeded to make life as comfortable as possible for me.
By now, I was wearing pads. An accident was waiting to happen, and no amount of pounding on my abdomen would make me wee safely and easily. Sarah became worried at my frenzied efforts beating my belly and when I was lying down unsuccessful and exhausted, she offered me a Panadol.
‘I forgot Panadol’s even existed, oh yes please Sarah!’
Sleep started to come soon after I took the substance, as did my need to wee. I didn’t know what to do. I had no strength to heave myself off the cushions, onto my knees, and then on the potty. I called Sarah again. She was an angel—giving me towels and changing my pads, without the slightest sigh of effort or frustration. Hours later it happened again, but this time I didn’t need to disturb Sarah; towels are wonderful absorbers.
Paul came home during the night and with a big, cheery smile he said, ‘Have you been pissing yourself all night, have ya?’ I affirmed ‘yes’ with a giggle, happy as ever Paul had such a wonderfully light-hearted and down-to-earth personality! No wonder I used to love dancing with him!
Next morning Sarah took me home to the place I needed more than ever! Mum took one look at me and sensed what I’d endured. She set me up on the couch and nursed me back to health, which took two days. In my bed, the fever broke, and I woke with wet sheets two nights running. I vowed never to let another flu injection come near me. And, it wasn’t out of my system yet…
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Throughout the next 17.5 pages of this chapter:
Met Nigerian man on the net: living in Kuwait, bombed daily by scud missiles.
MRI scan to participate in national survey.
Sought guidance: met health practitioner, Neil… goodwill, misguidance, and Dad pays a huge fee.
World thought luminary Alan Clements, and Burma’s Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.
After becoming an advocate raising awareness for Aung San Suu Kyi and Burma, become Sydney promoter for the Free Aung San Suu Kyi and Burma Tour.
Affection for Alan (living in Canada) grew in the process… could he be the holy man.
Bizarre bath incident.
Write a no-ending, no-goodbye letter to Jia given only weeks to live!!!
Sydney events for Free Aung San Suu Kyi and Burma Tour a success in attendance spiritually…
First presentation with school children… wrote: Come Fly with Me… leading to other school and Tafe visits!