Busy Mother at home

Outsourcing care: a blessing or a curse?

I read, with a little amusement, this blog article by a mum who ponders what life would have been like raising kids in the 70s.

The overall vibe of it was definitely appealing. Lazy days spent watching soap operas while hubby works; kids who take themselves off to school unsupervised; babysitters you can book for $1.50 an hour: this is definitely a lifestyle I could get on board with!

It got me thinking about how much times have changed – namely, how much busier we’ve all become.

Being a full-time stay at home mum nowadays is a very different proposition, as those parents who don’t work do a lot more than watch TV all day. There are schedules to organise, bills to pay, meals to prep, activities and events to plan, school tasks to sort out, kids costumes to create, playrooms to clean… the list goes on.

One of the things that has seriously changed, I’ve noticed, is the outsourcing of care.

We’ve become so busy that we don’t have as much time to care as we used to – and I’m not just talking about childcare and aged care. I’m talking about all the little ways in which we show care to our community.

For instance, in the past, if someone in your village was sick, or had a baby, or had fallen on hard times, people would rally around them. Children would be collected from school and looked after! Casseroles would be made under a meal roster! Friends and family would pop by and lend a hand!

These days, our villages have scattered. We’re all overscheduled and overwork, and we often outsource the little moments of care that we used to do ourselves.

We pay cleaners to tidy up after our busy families.

We buy meal deliveries to take care of cooking.

We enroll our kids into childcare centres.

We admit our elderly into care facilities.

And we do it not because we don’t care, but because we don’t have the time and energy to do it all ourselves any more.

Is this a blessing or a curse? On one hand, it’s wonderful that we have to ability to lean on support services so we’re not stretched too thin. On the other hand, heartbreaking stories like this one make me think that perhaps we’ve come to rely too much on outsourcing, without enough quality control along the way.

I don’t know whether our society has evolved for the better or worse.

And we can clutch onto some some parts of the 70s if we want too – we can even still get our hands on Gee, Your Hair Smells Terrific!

gc2018 batton relay

300,000 Commonwealth Games tickets to go on sale today

SPORTING fanatics have been given one last chance to snap up tickets to next year’s Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, with the final major release set to go on sale to the general public today.

The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation (GOLDOC) will release the last 300,000 tickets to the general public from 12pm Queensland time on Monday (1pm AEDT).

Along with 200,000 tickets that had previously been set aside for the final release, organisers have managed to free up an extra 100,000 seats after completing venue seating plans, sight lines and camera positions.

The additional 100,000 tickets also include those returned from Commonwealth Games partners and associations.

This means there are still tens-of-thousands of seats to be snapped up in the Opening and Closing ceremonies, as well as tickets to some of the most sought-after events that have been oversubscribed since the ticket request phase closed in May.

In all, the additional tickets will be available for 21 of the 23 sporting events, including the Swimming, Diving, Track Cycling, Gymnastics, Beach Volleyball, Netball, Athletics and Wrestling.

The ticket allocation for many of these sessions had previously been exhausted.

To check ticket availability for each event, click here.

Tickets will be offered on a “first in, first served” basis through www.gc2018.com/tickets, so fans are being urged to get in quick to avoid disappointment.

Prices will start from $20 for adults and $10 for children with each ticket including free public transport on the day.

The games will be held during the 2018 Easter school holidays, from April 4 to April 15.

Elderly Mans Hands

We keep people alive – but is that the same as living?

Modern medicine can keep people alive – but is that the same as really living?

I asked myself that question when my dear old Gran was dying a few years ago. She was aged in her 90s, and in her last few years earth-side she was virtually blind, 90% deaf, and suffering from dementia.

It was an awful, confusing, undignified way to go.

I ask myself that question again now, as I watch my dad go downhill. A four-year battle with cancer has him now bed-bound, unable to perform any functions for himself. He’s fed, he’s cleaned, he’s dressed, he’s shaved. He has an army of competent carers who tend to his needs around the clock.

And he has an army of health professionals topping up his painkillers, managing his discomfort as best as possible. He’s still with us right now, thanks to modern medicine.

But I wonder… Is that a good thing? At what point does quality of life and dignity take a backseat to simply drawing breath?

In this heart-wrenching article in the New York Times, doctor Sara Manning Peskin describes the agony that families go through when their loves ones are technically gone, though physically alive.

She describes a family’s agonising decision over whether to proceed or not with treatment, for their chronically ill mother.

“The immediate fear of watching her die outweighed the unfamiliar pain of sustaining her on machines and watching her disappear in a long-term care facility,” she says of their decision to keep their mum alive.

In these instances, “sparse cases of recoveries” occur, but the overwhelming majority of patients experience “painful, expensive, drawn-out deaths – ones we would never wish for ourselves or our own families”, she shares.

“When it comes to end-of-life decisions, doctors are terrified of violating patient autonomy. We are scared of our own medical opinions,” Dr Manning Peskin says.

“So instead of saying, ‘I recommend…’, we often offer a platter of life-prolonging measures, most of which are unlikely to improve a patient’s quality of life, but which offer the possibility of hope. The patient’s heart will still beat. Her personality will be gone, but her chest will still rise and collapse. Families see an opportunity for loss to be delayed, perhaps even dodged. Then we are surprised when they take us up on the offer to prolong dying.”

As medicine continues to get smarter – the US has just approved a digital pill that tracks when you take it – the number of people who are alive, without living, is only going to grow.

But I’m not sure whether we should be celebrating?

Honking the horn

What is wrong with Gold Coast drivers?

In the last 24 hours, I have witnessed some of the most ridiculous behavior on the roads I’ve seen in my 20-odd years of driving.

And – I’ve had enough.

It’s time to call on Gold Coast drivers to get your act together, or we’re going to see an increased number of reports of road rage in the nightly news.

For me this week, first, there was the roundabout honker. We both approached the roundabout at roughly the same time. Both of us were going straight, but we were at right angles to each other – she going west to east, me going south to north.

We both entered the roundabout at virtually the same time.

We both had plenty of room, and there was never any danger of us colliding.

But apparently Miss Silver Wagon, loitering on my right, felt that I should have waited until she’d completed her journey before I entered the circle of trust, so she honked at me as she sailed through the roundabout (well behind me, I might add).

Clearly, she was under the mistaken assumption that we should always give way to our right on roundabouts. This is not the rule – we should give way only to vehicles already on the roundabout, and as this handy dandy video shows, she might have been required to give way to me.

She wasn’t the only driver to honk me this week – I was also on the receiving end of a royal tooting when I carefully drove around another vehicle, which was blocking an intersection.

The final straw in terms of rudeness on the roads happened this morning. Driving the kids to school, I saw the driver of the vehicle in front of me wind down his window and piff an empty cup of Starbucks out onto someone’s lawn.

Really? In 2017, really? Do people still do this? Has clean up Australia Day taught us nothing?!

Throwing your garbage out the window isn’t just gross and environmentally hazardous, it’s also lazy and hugely inconsiderate.

I’ve lived in many different cities in my time, but I have to say the Gold Coast takes the cake for crazy, chaotic and downright inconsiderate drivers.

A little less distracted driving and a little more courtesy on the road could go a long way towards creating a more harmonious community!

Wildlife Wednesday Brahminy Kites

Wildlife Wednesday: Baby Brahminy Kites

Two young brahminy kites will be calling the Currumbin Wildlife Hospital home for the next few weeks, after they were both abandoned by their parents after jumping the nest.

“There is nothing really wrong with them, they were just very thin and rundown when they were brought in,” Dr Michael Pyne told myGC.

Barry and Naples are not brother and sister, however Dr Michael Pyne said they are keeping them in the same rehab enclosure as they are the same age.

“They can grow up together and have a mate in here. They will do a lot better if they have another bird of the same species to grow up with.”

Mr Pyne said the birds will remain in care for another month or so.

“We are now feeding them and getting their strength back up. They will be here until they are bit bigger and tougher.”

Watch the video to see Barry and Naples up close and swooping during the interview with Dr Pyne:

For more information on the Currumbin Wildlife Hospital, visit: cwhf.org.au/