Monthly Archives: June 2017

The House Call Doctor Futures in Health Indigenous Scholarship

I don’t often promote things, but sometimes you just have to share something for the good of the rest of us….

The House Call Doctor Futures in Health Indigenous Scholarship 


The House Call Doctor Futures in Health Indigenous Scholarship recognises the immense contributions of Indigenous Australians throughout all sectors of society. However, the scholarship also acknowledges that Indigenous health professionals remain too few, numbering an estimated 0.3% of the national healthcare workforce.


Apply for this, we need more of our own helping us.

The trouble with AMS

A story of the difficulties sometimes at the local Aboriginal Community Health Service

I have trouble maintaining my medication regime at (Local Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Medical Service). I go to the service, my whole family goes and it annoys me that I have to see a health worker, I tell him or her, what I am there for. If I wasn’t sick I wouldn’t be there so why do I need to see the bouncer of the AMS. I then go back to the waiting room and wait for my name to be called to see the doctor. My name gets called and I don’t see the doctor, I have to explain to the nurse why I am there and she takes my blood pressure we talk about that and when she has finished I don’t go into the doctor, I get sent back to the waiting room. After another wait, my name is called again and I finally see a doctor. But It’s not the same doctor I saw last time I was there and I have to tell him what I have already told the health worker and the nurse. I ask for a refill of my medication, should be easy, but it’s not this bloke needs me to give him my entire history, I dutifully submit to him taking my blood pressure, checking me over and asking me again why I need the (list of medications).

I explain again I tell him to look at my record and see that I have been on ….. for a while now as I have had a lump removed my breast recently and that I also need the (pain relief) for the pain I am in. I added to my list of refills some … for the nausea. He then calls in the nurse and asks her, right in front of me, if I have been receiving treatment for breast cancer, the nurse assured him that I have and that I have had one  removed and a biopsy on the other, followed by a removal of a lump.  Then he gives me the prescriptions I needed and I went home, annoyed that I had to have a nurse verify my story.

A few days later I had to go back to the AMS for ….(pain killers) as the doctor had only given me a prescription for a few days worth. I had to see the Health Worker, then the nurse and then the doctor, of course it was a different doctor and I had to go through my history again. I asked him, why he needed me to explain and why he couldn’t look up my record, he said that all doctors have their own records. So why can’t the nurse give information to the doctor? Why do I everytime I go to the doctor tell my history and why I am there to three different people, surely this is a waste of time and makes a visit to the doctor a lot longer than it should be? Painkiller prescription in hand I left, just so I could do it again in another couple of days.

The next week, I go back to the AMS, this time I didn’t tell the health worker why I was there, I told the nurse that I needed pain relief and could she tell the doctor all my history as I never have the same doctor. I went into the room to see the doctor expecting it to be easier, surely the nurse told him. Instead I had a third doctor that I had to explain to him my history. He didn’t call in the nurse to verify my story. This doctor decided that I had some problems, one of them being an addiction to painkillers. I was concerned when he talked about my dependency on them and that he wasn’t going to give me a prescription for …painkillers. I went home and worried about how easy it was to bcome addicted like the doctor had said, I was worried that he was right, maybe I had become dependent on them. I suffered pain, but didn’t take anything stronger than tablets you can get at the pharmacy. I had pain that …. and …. wouldn’t relieve.

Luckily, I had a check up at the hospital not long after and I was asked about what I was taking for the pain, and I told the hospital doctor what I had been taking. He was amazed and said you must be one tough old bird to be only on paracetamol. After explaining what the third doctor at the AMS said, he scoffed and said nonsense, I needed the painkiller for a few weeks because of the surgery. I was grateful that he organised for me to have a prescription that was for more than a few days.

This isn’t stand alone incident, I have had problems before at the AMS because I never see the same doctor, it’s always different doctors and you can’t request to see the same doctor, you have to see whoever is on duty at the time. This isn’t good service. I have had problems trying to see a female doctor. Family also complain of the same problems, because you never see the same doctor you have to tell them all the time. I have a niece who feels shame when she has to go for ongoing personal-body problems, she has one doctor give her one medication and another doctor give her a different diagnosis and different medications.

What I want to know is why do we have to be treated like third rate people in our own services


I am sharing a very sad and not an unknown story, I am sharing this one because some have been through this terrible problem within their own family. I can relate to some of this. Thank you to Kara for allowing me to reprint her story….


I follow you and I feel a solidarity, I have kids who cause me trouble, too many people say that my kids are bad, that they should do more for me, I suppose they should but I can’t control them. I had cervical cancer, when I was diagnosed my world fell apart. I lost my job, because I was having too much time off work, then I couldn’t get another job, while I was going through all of this, I had to go on sickness benefits and that is when the problems with my kids started. We were struggling for money, with only one wage coming in and that was a parttime job my partner had. My son he was 16 and my girl was 17, they didn’t want to tighten the belt. They wanted to still live like I had a wage. I wanted them to get jobs, so they could pay for things themselves, like going out with their mates, but they didn’t. My kids, started to steal from my wallet. At first it was a small sum, $5 here and there. Then it became bigger amounts, I mean bigger. When I was in hospital for surgery, my partner with me, my  son stole the bankcard, he went on a spending spree, he visited the city with his mates, shouted everyone lunch and a movie, bought himself new gear stayed late and did the same thing the next day and just spent money like nothing. $3000.00, gone in two days. That money was the rent, groceries, my tablets, Electricity, petrol and parking money. When we found out we hit the roof, he had no explanation for it, just that he was sick of having no money like his mates. We talked to family asking what to do, some said call the cops on him, some said make him work it off, or get a job and pay back the money. But that still left us broke and having to get a loan to make ends meet. We spoke to the counselor at school, who told us to go to the hospital to the mental health unit, they have an adolescent unit.  They were good, they spoke to us and ….. spoke to (my son). She said that he was having trouble coping with the family situation, it was new, watching me being sick and the loss of his lifestyle. He had weekly appointments, because they were concerned for him and his coping abilities. Family and friends that knew, thought we were being soft, that (he) was getting off lightly. We didn’t know what to do so we stuck to the advice of the counselor. My son kept stealing money from our wallets and taking the card, it was like we were getting a new card every couple of months. He was buying lunch at school everyday he went and many days he didn’t go to school and was buying lunch all over the place, he was getting on trains and going all around. We would talk and talk it had no effect. The counselor told us he was troubled, he felt guilty that he had taken money and the effect that had on the family, so he stole more. I don’t understand it either. I just know that I was sick and wasn’t able to do a lot or spend enough times with my kids and my partner was struggling to keep our family together. We noticed that somethings had gone missing, and thought it was my son, that he had stolen or broke something. while we were arguing with him,things just got ugly, my daughter joined in, and it was one of those fights, where everyone is having a go and everyone else. Voices were raised and my son pushed his sister, then my daughter threw her bag at him. The contents of her bag fell, and there was a bag of ganja. I think everyone went quiet for a minute, but then it was on again. Everyone was yelling at her, why did she have it, was she smoking it or worse, was she selling it. She had been smoking it for a while it, someone had given her a joint and told her it would help her mum, me. Somebody gave my daughter drugs for me. She told us that she smoked it herself, one night after another argument over her brother taking money. It seems to be her way of coping. She had been taking things from home and selling them at cashies. Only small things, she said her friends told her, anything too big you have to prove you own it, but if it’s not, you can get a bit of money, enough to buy some ganja.  I cried that night, I thought I was the worst mum in the world. What kids do that? I thought, my kids aren’t the sort of kids to do that, they are better than that, but I guess not. I wanted to teach my kids a lesson, I wanted to call the police on the both of them, not just because I was angry, but to stop them from having a life of drugs and theft that could lead to jail.  I went to the counselor with my daughter and son. I cried and told that woman everything. The kids didn’t want me too, they said it was shame. I think they were more shame about themselves. I told her that its a low act to steal from your family, but when you clean out your family and when you have a mum with cancer having treatment, that takes a low dog to do that.  The counselor talked to all of us, alone and as a group, asking each of us what we thought, how we felt. She told us that as a family we were faced with a difficult situation and that our coping mechanisms have been internal, self centered and destructive. Told the kids they were fortunate, that some parents would call the police, but we didn’t. The kids made a promise they wouldn’t do stealing or drugs again. I told them they had to get jobs and pay back all money and replace everything stolen. Things seemed to be okay for a while, I could concentrate on getting better, until my son stole our car, I had to call the police then, I thought, what if he has an accident, what if he kills someone, so I had to call the cops to stop him. He was found, but he doesn’t like me, and honestly I don’t like him at the moment. My partner handled all the legal matters with him, I was too sick, I think treatment and then stress made me worse than I was before. But it gave him a chance to see what the world is like without two parents who love him. He went into a juvenile facility, for a few months. I was immune compromised, so I couldn’t go near the place. He really learned that life is harder for others and that he should count his blessings. He was bashed for having two mums, he was bashed another time for stealing money from his sick mum. Strange kind of justice meted out in those places. All this I think scared my daughter enough to realise that maybe yoga is a better way to find calm.  I don’t know how some parents do it. They have kids that take care of them, who do so much. I have heard of kids younger than mine, helping parents with disabilities or mental illness. But my kids didn’t do extra, they didn’t give more, they took more. I’m glad I am not alone in having kids with troubled hearts. I am not angry at my kids anymore, I am sad about them. One day I will forgive them for all this, but not yet, I am not a big enough person to do that.

Grandmothers pain


A readers story.

I took my gran to the hospital for a check up after she had surgery to remove a lump. We were waiting and waiting and gran started to get a bit sore. I told the nurse that she was starting to hurt and I asked for some panadol. The nurse told me they couldn’t give her any, so I fished around in my bag and found a strip of neurafen and got some water and gave them both to gran. The nurse asked me what I had given her I told her what and she wanted to know why and I told her why, I said my gran was a bit sore. We waited some more and another nurse came over and asked my gran how she was feeling, gran told her she was a a bit sore but she had some neurafen and that she was still sore. The other nurse called out that my gran didn’t need any more relief that she had had enough.the nurse (second nurse) turned to gran and told her she shouldn’t be taking more than she was told and that pain relief was not meant to be a way to feel happy. My gran told her she wasn’t using them to be happy, she just wanted to have no pain. Nurse then told us that gran would have to be tested to make sure she wasn’t overusing her painkillers. Gran and I told her that she was only taking them 4 hourly, she was told she could take something in between if she needed it and she needed it and it was only neurafen. The nurse told gran that she only had her word for it and it would be best to check on it anyway. If it was just me, I would have told her where to go, but it was my gran and she did the test for how much pain killer she had.  When we finally saw the doctor, the doctor told us that getting gran tested for drugs was a waste of time because their was nothing in the notes about the test or what the result was. 








Another Year To Be Grateful

I have a birthday this week, I also have another minor surgery for the tumor growing on my jaw. I really need to change the way I think. I was once determined to beat cancer and live a life of love and contentment, watch my children grow up, work and have friends.

But somewhere I lost sight of being grateful. I was so grateful that I was alive, that I had overcome so much and that I was still around. I helped others, I struggled but I was grateful and relatively happy. I lost that, somewhere I started to whinge and whine and complain at the unjustness of life and what I had been served. I need to remember to be happy and to be grateful. I have to stop being cranky and a terrible mum to my kids. I don’t want to be depressed, I don’t want to always be worrying about how to pay the med bills, I want to have fun, I want to laugh, I want to be a happy mum again.

I don’t know when the change happened, it just did and a shock last week made me realise how much I had slipped. Instead of being grateful that I am still here, I think why am I still here. I am wasting peoples time and I am a burden to my kids. I am never 100 percent well, so what is the point. I need reminding that I am still here and that is a good thing, I have good days and bad days, but at least I have seen my kids grow up. I have watched as my nieces and nephews grow and as some new members of the world have entered. I have been blessed to see that.

I used to be happy when I changed medications or picked up some extra income, anything that would make those bills a little less. The extra money went on other bills or sometimes even a treat for the family.  But instead it became a relief that I wasn’t paying it, feeling jealous of those who have medications on the PBS and don’t pay so much. How can you justify jealousy of that? I mean actual jealous, envy, not just the feeling of unfairness that others like me have to pay so much because the PBS is a popularity competition. It is laughable in a way to be jealous that someone who has a chronic illness has a break that you don’t

I dislike, nay hate that I can’t get a job a permanent full time job because of Charlotte (the name of my tumor), I think how terrible are others who won’t employ me or give me go. When I should be grateful that I pick up a bit of work here and there. I see only the negative and not the positive of every situation. I mean the positive of picking up work here and there, is that I don’t have Centrelink problems, trust me that is a blessing if I don’t have to spend ages sorting out how much I can earn and then waiting for payment after I finish a job. That wait while I get processed again, is very very hard financially.

The frustration I feel at not being able to push or get anyone to help me get Indigenous cancer workers, it is something I think is needed, but I have been pushing for a long time, I get a lot of people and people in organisations agree that it is needed, but no one will work with me to become a reality has plagued me to the point I gave up on pushing for it. So I will change my mindset and tell myself it’s just not time yet, but keep working on it. Don’t fall into a heap of feeling worthless because it hasn’t happened. Just be grateful that I have been there for some individuals and that I have helped them. Count this as a victory, not a failure to those you can’t help.

I see my kids not doing chores around the house, and I get upset and think they are thoughtless selfish kids. I think they are terrible for not doing things that I can’t do, it eats away at me and builds up. It gets blown out of proportion. I need to remember that they are teens and young adults, they are not being hateful. I forget they have a lot to deal with, study and work, their social lives, they can’t be at my beck and call. I need to remember that they too have had a terrible time over the last few years. Imagine how hard it is to watch your mother be so ill and to be told by doctors to say good bye. Yep I forgot they have lives and their own problems. I had become so self centered and caught up in my own misery.

I am going to try to turn it all around and change. I am going to read gratitude quotes, until they become part of my life again. I am going to try to be thankful for 5 things everyday and once a week list long term things to be grateful. I am going to try to change this mind set and remember that this birthday this week is a blessing, it’s a day that I wasn’t supposed to have reached. I need to celebrate that. I will celebrate the birthday that I shouldn’t have had. I will be grateful and celebrate that I have one child left in high school, when I started this journey I had three in school.

Yes I need to get out of this rut, I have played with depression off and on for the past 8 years, but I don’t want to be the misery in other peoples lives. I want to feel happy again. I want to find contentment. When I was a child their was an ad on TV about contented cows, I asked my mum what contented meant, she told me that it’s when you are satisfied in yourself,  happiness and sadness are fleeting but contentment stays with you. I wanted to be one of those cows. Somewhere, somehow, I forgot about those cows, now is the time to change, to be content.