Going to Town ( a non-fiction free write )
Going to Town.
by John Hansen (c) 2015
For most people, especially those living in town, shopping day is quite straight forward and often an eagerly anticipated outing (at least for the ladies). However it isn't that way for everyone. I know that most men don't really enjoy shopping either, and I am one of them, but that's not exactly what this is about.
For my wife, Kathleen, and I the trip to town is usually postponed for as long as possible, until food stocks are running low or there is a doctor's appointment to obtain prescriptions for much needed drugs.
Location, Location, Location
Firstly, a little about where we live. We chose to make our home in a quite rural community called approximately 54 km or 45 minute drive from the major town of Kingaroy. Ballogie, where we live, has no stores or services other than a local fire brigade and a CWA (Country Women's Asociation). The nearest small towns are Durong with a convenience store, church, school and bowls club; and Tingoora with just one school and hotel (no stores). Both these towns or villages are about a 30 minute drive.
For access to suitable shopping facilities, banks, and doctor etc we have to drive to Kingaroy, a trip we undertake usually once a fortnight. On the first and third Thursdays each month we also drive to the town of Murgon for Kathy to attend her Spinning and Weaving craft group. If we have forgotten to purchase something on shopping day, we can buy it then.
My Wife's Medical Condition
Due to Kathy's medical condition, which includes sleep apnea and fibromyalgia, she has to be woken at least three hours prior to leaving the house. To make a doctor's appointment for 11am for instance I have to wake her with a cup of tea and her morning medication at 7am, with the hope of leaving around 10am. This may be difficult for most people to imagine but it is honestly how long it takes her to be fully awake and mobile.
Kathy also has a chronic back condition called 'scoliosis' or curvature of the spine which requires her to wear a slow release morphine patch for the constant pain. She cannot walk far or stand for long periods and her condition has been slowly deteriorating. Though she is proud of the fact that she has been able to avoid being wheelchair bound, something doctors predicted that should have occurred 10 years ago.
Recently we purchased a mobility scooter which allows her to be more mobile and not in constant pain trying to walk around the shopping centre etc. The only disadvantage of the scooter is the time it takes to set up ramps and to get it in and out of the car. This is just something I have to accept as the norm and get used to doing.
Regular Shopping Day Routine
Where we live there is no rubbish/trash collection service so once a month on our trip to town we stop at the Home Creek Refuse Tip to dump our waste. We do try to recycle as much as we can but it still builds up. This is usually our only stop on the 45 minute commute to Kingaroy.
On arriving in town our general routine is:
- Stop at the bank/atm
- Attend doctor's appointment
- Drop prescriptions at the chemist/drug store for filling
- Go for lunch at our favourite Chinese Restaurant, cafe, or hotel (a welcome interlude)
- Supermarket/ apartment store to shop for groceries and other necessities
- Produce store for poultry food
- Fill the car with fuel
- Visit our son Jared and his family (always great to see the grandkids)
- Return home
We usually leave home around 10am and arrive back home around 5pm all going well. This includes 90 minutes total driving to and from town. A long day, especially for my wife. By the time we arrive home she is exhausted and in pain (though the scooter has helped relieve that somewhat). We are greeted by hungry cats and dogs who demand feeding before we can unload the car.
Kathy stores away the groceries (as much as she can) while I unload the car, and then I take over so she can lie down. With an hour or so rest she is usually recovered enough to prepare dinner. If not I will cook (maybe my world famous scrambled eggs).
And the next day they rested. (It takes Kathy at least 24 hours to recover from "going to town.")
Today, when we were on time and ready for town, we climbed in them car and I turned on the key..a feeble "whirrr..whirrr..whirr" and then nothing. The battery was dead. A few curse words were said before I lifted the hood and placed it on the charger, then back inside for another hour while the battery recharged enough to drive to town. Lucky today we didn't have a doctor's appointment.
One of the major disadvantages in living out of town is if your car breaks down, you are stranded. There is no public transport and a taxicab will cost you in excess of $150 to get to town. Unless you have a second vehicle, or friends who happen to be going to town the same day, then you have no choice but to sit at home until you can have the car repaired.
Fortunately, after an hour, the car started and we drove to town. We were a little behind schedule but that wasn't a big deal. First stop had to be the car parts store to buy a new battery however, an unwelcome but necessary $150 expense.
So you see the simple act of going to town isn't as easy for everyone. I have no doubt that there are many people for whom it is even more difficult and stressful than it is for Kathy and I, and I feel for them. At least we can still get around and do what we have to. Some people are housebound due to age, Ill health or numerous other reasons. I have learn't never to take anything for granted. Appreciate what you have, while you have it.
"Going to town" really is, a big deal!
I just thought, as it is poetry month, I would add a poem. I hadn't written one for a few days. This is my fourth for April. I hope you enjoy.
We're Going to Town, and Life Just Seems Funny
© 2015 John Hansen
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