Relentless is the word that I think encompasses what 2022 has meant for myself (and Bob).
I wanted this last blog for 2022 to be positive. There could be a lot of whining and whinging from me, but I feel that is a waste of emotional energy and pretty pointless in the scheme of things.
When I review the year – we are still surviving….no we are flourishing. Our core business which is providing best practise pelvic health physiotherapy to women, men and children is happening at a high level. And that is due solely to the magnificent staff who have worked above and beyond this year.
It is now a reality that the reception staff deal with 3 times the phone calls and emails that we used to have prior to The Pandemic. As a country we are now recognising that if there is sickness then appointments have to be rescheduled – and that is a good thing. But it comes at a cost and my receptionists to their absolute credit remain calm and kind under this relentless increase in volume of calls.
It is also a reality that the complexity of pelvic health issues has escalated. This is due to the overall increase in anxiety and really what I would describe as generised fear that is circulating around the community.
This year has meant the word war has entered our vocabulary and our lives in a real and tangible way. I have used the war in Ukraine as a coping strategy everytime I have felt crushed under the weight of 2022. I see the images of women and children crowded in dank, wet underground bunkers and thought: ‘How the hell do they cope with that? Where are the daily showers? Where is the privacy for toiletting? How do they wash their undies (especially if they are dealing with soiled/wet/bled on undies)? How is their pelvic pain?’ If your pelvic floor muscles are ‘first responders’ everyone’s pelvic floor must be up around their armpits with all those bombs dropping multiple times every hour!
And one of my inspirations has been Ukraine’s leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy. What a leader! What a champion! What an inspiration of how to cope under duress! No whining or whinging – just strength, resilience, calmness and clear-sighted focus. Standing up for his people and having faith in his soldiers that they can save their country from the perpetrator, the invader.
Anxiety has also has been heightened with the unprecedented monthly increases in mortgage interest rates, projected electricity price increases and the general rise in the cost of living. People are worried about making ends meet – and for good reason.
And of course the third year of The Pandemic – we cannot forget the relentless recirculating of COVID19 this year. The inevitable opening up of Australia has come at a cost which has impacted many families, businesses and our psyche. (I literally feel anxious now if I eat in a densely packed out restaurant, see a crowd on TV like those at the World Cup and imagine being trapped in it and I’ve stopped hugging – which is very sad as I was a big hugger).
All these factors and more have contributed to increases in the severity and intensity of the pelvic pain that patients are suffering.
Megan (physio), Katie, Cristina, Sam (physio) and Fara (physios Haleh and Amanda missing)
But my beautiful Physios have soldiered on, carried an increased workload and stayed calm and resilient for their patients……..and for me. And for this I am thankful and grateful. And they should be so proud because what they do for their patients – what all pelvic health physios do for their patients – is give the patients a port to sail into when they are feeling damaged and broken, a set of shoulders to unburden themselves on to and strategies through education to have their confidence restored, their faith in their bodies be revitalised and an opportunity for them to resume living the best life they can.
What are the best things from 2022?
I’ve taught a lot of people that belly breathing is the best thing you can do in your life and it’s a ‘forever’ thing.
Personally I have done so much belly breathing this year and I am still standing…and talking something other than gibberish (which is a miracle when I think about the year)… and laughing. And I am not drinking much alcohol (but the same can’t be said for chocolate which continues to be too much of a best friend).
Connecting with my pelvic health colleagues and friends at Dubbo.
The Dubbo Trip: Annie, Sue, Nat, Taryn, Fiona
This trip was a real turning point this year. This was at the height of the disruptions that have occurred this year. My friend Natalie was launching her new practice in Dubbo and a trip was planned to celebrate with her. But I had reluctantly cancelled the trip because of the chaos. But Bob insisted that we go and it was so much FUN – pranking everyone who wasn’t expecting us to be there was the best part. But also just seeing someone who I have watched grow as a fantastic pelvic health physio over the years open her brilliant clinic was exhilarating. And there was a lot of ‘laugh out loud’ laughing. There had been none of that in 2022 until that weekend. Thank you girls. You know who you are. And thank you to the other girls (who also know who they are) who have kept the lifebuoys coming virtually in this turbulent stormy year.
Girraween National Park
This was the best couple of days this year. We were due to travel overseas to meet up with my daughter and her husband, but thanks to 2022 that wasn’t able to happen. So we suddenly decided to head off to Girraween National Park for 3 days to do some hiking. What a place to refresh and reset. Natural beauty beyond your wildest dreams.
We have a beautiful family. Thanks to modern technology we can connect quickly and regularly to get a burst of endorphins that family can give you. Now all are back in Australia we can have lots of face-to-face connections as well and 2022 has given us that. Looking after our grandchild (children during the holidays) every Thursday has been a big lifesaver this year. Paddy’s beautiful smile and nature is also relentless and has revived us every Thursday without fail. My own kids are very lucky that they will spend Christmas with their Grandma for another year. Mum is 97 and as strong and resilient as ever. Sending love to all those not in such good health (especially Karen xx)
The Fam Mum and me Karen and family
Friends are special because they are there for the long haul. You feel comfortable around them and they get what makes you tick. I’ve mentioned those who we contact each other daily on the ether, but there are others who we connect with IRL and it always feels very comfortable.
Zoom has allowed us to stay up to date with our Professional Development, have Telehealth appointments with patients (who now see it as a bonus rather than a problem) and most importantly has allowed me to continue to deliver exercise class options for our patients for the third year in a row. Zoom has had it’s challenges but it continues to be a life support for those who want to exercise, but feel worried about confined spaces and lack of airflow (like me).
This year I have learned the value of resilience. I have always felt fairly resilient but this year has challenged that to it’s very core. But it is much better to get up in the morning and feel positive about what the day will bring and not perseverate about the bad things. Don’t give the bad things oxygen is my new mantra.
Every day the patients think they are coming for themselves – for their problems to be solved, for their burden to be relieved. But if truth be known the patients have kept me going this year. Their support and genuine love that I feel on some days has buoyed me up more than they will ever understand. If the day has been tough – the focus that I need to help them for those hours at work has diminished the problem into a more manageable size and by the end of the day I feel stronger and have better clarity of thought to solve the problem. The patients’ problems also put your own world into perspective. Sometimes the things I hear seem inconceivable and allow me to be grateful for what is good in my life …. and there is so much.
Which brings me to the last good thing about 2022.
Bob and The Year of The Magpie
Bob as usual has been my rock and if I’ve had a difficult year then his has been as bad if not worse because behind every year of trauma in business is failing or troublesome technology. But this year Bob has discovered the joy and beauty of the Australian Magpie. Over previous years we have often had them come and invite themselves onto our verandah and it has felt like a scene out of The Birds (the Alfred Hitchcock movie), but this year Bob has connected with them and enjoyed watching their unique behaviours. I feel they have contributed to him staying sane and calm during his usual protracted phone calls with Optus, Telstra and the other mega-corporations that we rely on to keep functioning.
So to wrap it up.
Thank you to everyone.
We got through this year and we are smiling.
Always value you good health over all else because when it is challenged we are in trouble.
Have a wonderful peaceful break, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and see you in 2023