Tania Lewis: Just my story – part four

In BlogX, Health by Luke Pearson

Author: Tania Lewis

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Tania Lewis is an Awabakal woman with a disability who is wheelchair bound. She is married to a loving hubby of 28yrs, Leonard, a proud Wiradjuri man. Together they have a beautiful 19yr old daughter called Faith and a little dog called Moo.
Tania’s passion passion is helping our Mob with a disability get the best they can outta their own life, from helping them with the NDIS or their health issues or yarning circles at her local Art Gallery.

Read part three here

I spent three weeks in the Mater Psychiatric Unit, and they were good to me there.

They helped me understand that I did the right thing and that what had happened was not our fault, and they helped me realise that I did the best for the residents still living there.

It wasn’t long after I had witnessed so much fucked up abuse living in that horrible nursing home that the nightmares started, and they would happen even if I fell asleep during the day. I would be screaming out and the nurses would wake me.

The Psychiatric Dr said it was called “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder“ PTSD for short, and he said they could help treat it with medication but even that might not change anything, but I gave it a go as I was so exhausted from the broken sleep pattern.

The day came when they had found the next Nursing Home for me to go to. It was a Seventh day Adventist Nursing Home that was closer to my family, so off I went in the Ambulance hoping for a new start.

When I arrived, Len was waiting and followed me to my new room. After my previous experiences, I was surprised to learn that I would be sharing a room with a dear old lady whom was very witty and well spoken.

She didn’t like my sister and her two young kids visiting though, as the noise and the kids playing was too much for her. It didn’t take long before she was hunting them out of our room all the time, so my sister went and spoke to the NUM and she understood what was happening and moved me into my own room.

It was nice being in my own room as I didn’t have to worry about the other people, and I had my private space to spend time with my family or visitors when they came, and the kids could be kids. I did notice that the food tasted weird and ask why? and the chef told me they’re vegans and only eat nut meat. They were understanding that I ate meat and allowed me to eat from a different menu.

Then every Saturday some of the nurses would go around to everyone’s room and turn on the Church Channel on the TV, and that’s all you could hear throughout the home.

There was a time when I woke up and there was four church women sitting beside my bed watching me while I slept and praying over me. It shocked the shit outta me. There was even a don’t enter sign on my door too, which they ignored.

I tried so hard to get them to leave but they just wanted to continue praying until I buzzed the buzzer and a nurse came in and told them to go. This happened a few more times until the Pastor spoke to them and told them to stop.

There was a night there when I needed a pad change and two female nurses, and one male nurse came to change me, the two nurses rolled me to one side and laughed and chatted together whilst the male nurse cleaned my bum, then I suddenly felt like he had inserted his fingers or something inside my vagina.

I was shocked and horrified by what had just happened but I was too scared to say anything, so when they left I broke down in tears and rang Lenny.

The next day Lenny arrived, and I broke down to him not knowing what to do. He said that I must tell someone, so that this doesn’t happen to anyone else, but I was so scared to dob – especially after what happened at the previous Nursing home.

I did get the courage to tell the NUM what had happened, and she called the Police. When they arrived I had to tell them what had happened, and they took my statement and left. I also got my care changed to female nurses only.

About a week went by and then I finally heard back from the police. They said that it “most likely couldn’t have happened”. I held back telling anyone else for fear of being disbelieved, and now I felt like a joke.

I locked myself in my room after that and Lenny got a job there as a maintenance man, so he could keep an eye on me every day. He would have smoko and lunch with me every day, and after work he would stay back awhile.

One night I was on the internet talking to Faith on Facebook and after she got off I Googled ‘young person is nursing home’ and to my surprise up popped a site! I messaged them out of desperation trying to find out if there was something for a young person living in Aged care and someone mentioned that the NDIS trial site was in my area and that they would contact them on my behalf.

A week went by before I finally got a phone call from a lady making a appointment to come visit. The day they arrived there was the lady and a Aboriginal fella named Sean who visited me.

Their first question was asking me what I wanted, and I replied I want to go home to be with my family – that’s all I wanted.

So, for me to eventually be able to get home I had to have extensive physio as I had been in bed all those years.

As I got stronger I had to learn how to sit up in a wheelchair, and when the new wheelchair came I had to have four driving lessons to safely operate it. My very first time outside in the wheelchair by myself didn’t go that well and for some reason I ended up driving the wheelchair off the edge of the concrete path tipping it on the side, landing in a small bush.

Lucky for me, I had my mobile phone on me and rang the front desk to send someone to rescue me, when they came they couldn’t believe what I had done but everyone got a good laugh out of it.

To be continued…

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