Vigil

End of life illness stories come to this moment: the final period of waiting and staying awake. Sleeping mats on the floors of hospital rooms, dozing in chairs, holding hands, keeping shifts and vigils, hard choices, knowing what is to come. There’s an intense wish repeatedly expressed to get there in time: for the living to be present with the dying, to let them know that they are safe and cared for, and that those they love are safe and can…

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The reality

Even though I know what the reality is, it gives me hope, it gives me a purpose, it gives me something to do. However little time I have. — Myuran Sukumaran, Australian artist Here’s a story that ought to be filling us all with hope: a big tale of resilience, creativity, cooperation and opportunity, driven by a remarkable and gifted Australian. Look at him here: he is young, and healthy, and doing so much good. He has time left. If I was his mother watching…

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End in sight

I suppose it’s like the ticking crocodile, isn’t it? Time is chasing after all of us. –J M Barrie, Peter Pan It’s highly probable that somewhere in the world today a child has been born that’s going to live to 150 –Joe Hockey, Treasurer Two thoughts. 1 Australian politics is frozen in mid backflip over the shark, and I’m still stuck on the Treasurer’s claim back in January that we need to shore up our public health system to prepare for Australians living to…

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Whatever it takes

“We will do whatever it takes to make Medicare sustainable … If we don’t, with an ageing population, we will find ourselves in 10 or 20 years with a system that will collapse under its own weight.” Peter Dutton, Minister for Health,  The Australian November 27 With things in the world as they are, two things to celebrate, and Australian health care reform. First, something really great: the women of Elcho Island mentioned a couple of posts ago succeeded in their…

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Showing up

Go son, go down to the water / And see the women weeping there Then go up into the mountains / The men, they are weeping too Nick Cave, “The Weeping Song“ 1. It’s a day for weeping, as it turns out. All over the place, so much grieving. Lives brought up short abruptly and in shockingly public ways right in the middle of being lived, and other lives ending privately with some warning.  Barely born ones touching down lightly and leaving us at once and very…

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With our own meaning

I met for the first time the essential questions of my own mortality … None of us have 300 years. The terror that I conquered in those three weeks left me with a determination and freedom to speak as I needed, and to enjoy and live my life as I needed to for my own meaning. Audre Lorde, The Cancer Journals Short version: it’s about this. Please donate. Long version Last week was national Go Home on Time Day, and for…

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Not done yet

for so many this year, but especially for Audrey Watters I live in a very small Australian seaside community, with 5600 others. It’s within easy reach of major cities including Sydney, so we’re not exactly isolated. But the non-negotiable topography of Thirroul—ocean on one side, escarpment on the other—keeps commercial development at human scale. I can walk the length of the town. My kids all went to the local primary school. I know the local pathology collectors; I see the two of them at the shops…

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Seven dollars in modern Australia

“I think it’s a sad reflection on the modern Australian attitude that they can’t see that all areas have to make a contribution and they look at it as a narrow, sectional issue.” Commission of Audit Chair, Tony Shepherd, on responses to the Federal Budget, May 23* This week my daughter turned fifteen, and she went to the doctor—a political act in modern Australia. She went because of a constellation of puzzling symptoms which we’ve been sort of monitoring for a few months….

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A couple of beers

I can think of no more significant benefit from community contributions in health than to invest in cure and discovery research by our people for our people … As a result, it may be an Australian who discovers better treatments and even cures for dementia, Alzheimer’s, heart disease or cancer. If we start investing now, this new and historic commitment in medical research may well save your life, or that of your parents, or your child. Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey, Budget…

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Irreplaceable time

Part one: the hamster wheel The majority of Australians working extra hours or hours outside of normal work hours do so in order to meet the expectations of their job. Almost 60 per cent of respondents report this, with 45 per cent saying that this extra work is necessary often or sometimes. This represents 5.2 million Australian workers who are working extra hours to keep their workload under control and on target. Prue Cameron and Richard Denniss, “Hard to Get…

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