Community Nursing

Overworked Support Worker

‘What the hell was that?’ I growled, storming out of the building after my sister.

‘I’m sorry, okay?!’ she turned back to glare at me, but otherwise kept pacing in front of the parking lot. ‘You know I’m not good in places like that.’

‘Being uncomfortable in a hospital is one thing, Louise,  but having a breakdown and yelling at Dad’s disability support worker is another thing entirely!’

‘I’ll go and apologise to him in a minute, I just need…’ her breathing quickened, running faster and faster, and she doubled over trying to breathe more slowly. ‘I just need a second,’ she gasped, tears streaming down her face.

‘Louise?’ I called out, my concern chipping away at my anger. I rushed over to grab her shoulders, helping sit her down on the curb. ‘Louise, what is it?’

‘I just…’ she took a deep, shuddering breath, clutching herself tightly. ‘I just can’t take this anymore. Seeing her like that, every day, not being able to do anything.’

‘You are doing something,’ I said softly. ‘By being here every day, by helping her get through it.’

‘I know, I know,’ Louise said. ‘I know. But I’m so tired. In my bones, I’m tired. I don’t know how much more I have to give.’

I nodded, and sat with her in the silence for a bit. A car drove up, the driver excited that they were going to find a spot so close to the hospital, but quickly drove away scowling once they saw us sitting in the way.

‘Take the weekend off,’ I said quietly. ‘Take the long weekend off. Spend some time with your kids and Mike. I can man the fort here.’

‘I can’t ask you to do that Joe—’

‘You’re not asking,’ I said firmly. ‘And it’s not like I’ll be alone. I’ve got the best NDIS service available in Adelaide to support me.’

She snorted, and a touch of colour shifted back onto her face.

‘Are you sure?’ she whispered.

‘Absolutely positive,’ I smiled, wrapping her up into a hug. ‘Just promise me one thing?’


‘Try to have a shower or two.’

She punched me on the arm.

Community Nursing

Living in SDA Housing

I feel calm for the first time in a long time. I’m finally getting the care that I need – care that it has been clear I’ve needed for a long time. I think everyone knew that where I was living before wasn’t working. As much as I love my family and they love me, I needed support that they just weren’t trained to give me. That wasn’t their fault.

No one expected them to become qualified disability service providers overnight. I certainly didn’t. Especially because I wasn’t born with a disability. I was born completely healthy and then got into a huge accident when I was twenty years old. It didn’t impact my cognitive abilities, which is both a blessing and a curse, instead, it left me paralysed and unable to do anything for myself. It has been extremely hard on my loved ones.

The accident not only ruined my life forever, but in a sense it also ruined theirs. I could tell that they were ready to give up absolutely everything for me. They were going to dedicate their lives to looking after me, which I just couldn’t allow. For the first few months after my accident, I didn’t have the heart to tell them that I didn’t want their help. I couldn’t bear it because they had already given up so much for me. 

I remember the day that I told them that I wanted to go into SDA housing in the Adelaide CBD very clearly. At first, they were shocked and then a little offended. Then, after I asked them nicely, they started to actually think about it. It took them a little while to come around to the idea, because they said they felt like they’d be abandoning me, but I assured them that was not the case. I assured them that moving to SDA housing full time was what I needed. It would be what was best for me.