On the road to freedom
Now that she is home, Robyn is at peace.
“My dream has always to be at home, and I am now relishing it.”
“At the moment I am in a stress free zone by my own doing.”
Robyn suffers sciatica with piriformis syndrome which extends half way down her left leg to the point she is unable to stand for more than an hour at a time.
“I am getting my own health back under control. My health has been of concern for the last two years so I am living the life of the aged person who does not wish to do anything extra.”
Over the course of her life, Robyn has always been there for her family.
When she speaks of freedom she’s not only talking about her wish of being always on the road. She is also referring to helping others.
“I come from a large family where nobody was selfcentred. We were encouraged to look out for each other.”
Robyn is a long distance carer for her 88-year-old and legally blind mother living in Cooloola Cove.
Her daughter, Daisy shares this role with her as the in-house carer and with support from the rest of the family.
Robyn cared for her first husband who suffered three heart attacks and a stroke within 24 hours in December 1989. He passed away in March 1994.
She currently cares for her second husband who has a back injury and stress anxiety disorder.
They met in 1996 and in 2000 he had a work related injury after falling off a ladder and damaging his spine. Then in 2002 he was assaulted, which aggravated his injury and brought on the depression, stress and anxiety.
“That’s when I started battling the system,” she says.
“It’s been a long and tough road.”
Robyn worked as a professional carer for over 10 years.
“I stopped working two years ago because of my health and the desire to get my husband on a disability pension. It’s finally happened. It took us two years to get it approved.”
For Robyn, Carers Queensland’s support has been crucial during this process.
“Carers Queensland makes my life better by helping me all the way and giving me direction.”
“They have been there to support me when I’ve been struggling.”
“It’s a very hard battle when you’re trying to work through the processes and all the paperwork and having them there, set me on the right direction for the next step.”
“The caring role is never ending. My calendar is often full. I take my husband to appointments and all that and then we’ll have weeks of just staying at home, when I can get out in the garden and relax.”
As a paid carer, ‘me time’ was something she usually encouraged others to do constantly.
So at the moment, she is focused on putting herself first.
“At times I feel strange. I know I have to do it. ‘Me time’ is really important.”
“I’m actually doing something that I have always wanted to get into: cake decorating. I’m enjoying making the grandchildren’s birthday cakes.”
Being off medication has also proved beneficial for Robyn.
“These two years of being medicated aggravated my problem. Now, without medication, I’ve got my leg back to minimal pain, I’m on rehabilitation and I’ve started tribal dancing.”
“I’ve done belly dancing in the past. This one is a new form of dancing. You still need your basics, but you use them in a different form. I’m really enjoying it. It’s a really good therapy.”
Robyn is in a much better place now. As she starts doing what she likes, she still dreams of selling her house and getting back on the road in the caravan with her husband.
“In 2015 we achieved nine months. We went house sitting along the way and totally enjoyed our sightseeing.”
“It’s such a beautiful life style. That would be living the life of total freedom on the road. That’s freedom for me.”