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Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Moving mum south

I haven't felt this way in a long time or, rather, the feelings I've had from time to time over the past several months are being amplified by the proximity of the move. Moving mum to Sydney is turning into something of a climax. I felt dizzy on the way down to the cafe this morning and had to steady myself by putting my hand on a tree. My guts ascend to my throat like the fumes of alcohol in a bottle of gin. I am morphing a year of anxiety into a few days of frantic activity where we will transfer my 85-year-old mother by plane to a city 1200 kilometres away from her home.

We have been packing boxes. Or at least my mother and her housekeeper have been packing. ("Too many cooks," as they say.) The removalists will come later, a bunch of big, burly men who will cope with the sweat and the ants that have congregated around the front gate to my mother's apartment building. Although, by the time the men arrive the ants will probably have moved on from the smell that's currently in the little patch of garden outside, to another object of interest. The ants come inside my mother's apartment building sometimes. They carry away pieces of fish that have fallen underneath the dining table due to a lack of diner attention.

Sydney is a bit like an ant's nest. It maintains an energy, a speed of movement that is different from here. This small, sleepy town where I have lived for the past five-and-a-half years. I came here to look after mum after she fell on her face walking in a shopping centre carpark. I have acclimatised myself to this place but I have never really felt a part of it. I have been on the edge of things for a long time and it is time for me to go back to the centre. Getting back to the centre means getting over these willies, this lurching of the stomach into the throat, these palpitations of the heart.

A few days ago mum had a disappointing diagnosis. She had been getting dark bruises on her arms for no reason and the GP referred her to a haematologist, who referred her, in turn, to a pathology practice to get a bone marrow biopsy. We drove there a few weeks ago and it was sunny and it rained as well (just like the past few days). Mum has a blood condition called myelodysplastic syndrome, where the bone marrow produces a high percentage of poor quality blood cells, sort of like you get with leukemia. He has given her six months to live. Mum is coping well. We had organised the move south before getting the prognosis, so we just went ahead and started packing anyway.

In a few days mum will be ensconced in her new dwelling in a nursing home in a northern suburb of Sydney. It's not as humid in Sydney. I expect the weather to be mild although I see from social media they have had a lot of storms in Sydney recently. Up here, the storm season really starts in January. I'll be moving down to Sydney in February.

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