I heard, yesterday, that someone I knew well, and who knew me quite intimately (she was one of the masseuses who help me try to keep my lymphoedemic arm under control, therefore she is one of the few people to have seen my naked, one-boob-only chest) died on Good Friday. She had had a hip replacement done last year and didn’t seem to recover from it. She came back to work for a while but we could see she was struggling. Anyway, late last year she was finally diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease. Now she’s gone.
I’d gone to the clinic yesterday for my usual two hour appointment: one hour of laser treatment and then one hour of massage. I’d dragged myself along, somewhat reluctantly, because I was in pain due to my crumbling spine. I was dreading the two hours lying on the hard treatment beds. However, I need the treatment on my arm so there’s not a lot of choice.
I was sitting in the waiting room, feeling a little bit sorry for myself, when I heard the news about Robyn. It was as if God slapped me on the cheek and said, “Get over yourself, princess!”
I was genuinely shocked to hear the news. She was a wonderful woman, a trail-blazer in the treatment of lymphoedema, who was passionate about helping her clients, worked extremely hard, loved the opera, adored her grandchildren, was soppy about dogs, a fan of Monet, in particular, but loved art in general, and was such an interesting person to chat with. She will be greatly missed.
The lady doing my massage yesterday said, “At least she didn’t wait until she’d retired, to live.”
Robyn worked hard, six days a week, but then when she had a holiday, she really had a holiday. She had travelled the world. She had indulged her love of opera and had attended performances in Moscow and New York, amongst other places. She’d embraced life. Therefore, we had the most interesting conversations while she was massaging me. We loved talking politics, even though she was a died in the wool conservative and I’m not. We also used to occasionally sing together while she stroked the lymphatic fluid up my arm and across my chest. It was always something classical so I rarely knew the words, but it didn’t matter to her that it consisted of a lot of lalalahs and tum-tiddily-tums.
I admired her. She was a pioneer in the use of lasers to treat lymphoedema. The clinic, she and another lady opened, is still one of the few places (or only place) in South Australia where those of us who suffer from this condition, can get treatment. Therefore, she had thousands of patients, many of whom had been treated by her for 20 or 30 years (lymphoedema doesn’t go away). Every single one of them considered her their friend. She will be greatly missed.
And the thing is, it totally sucks that she should die in such an awful way. Motor Neurone Disease is hell. Suddenly my problems got a readjustment. So, thanks for that, Robyn. You’re still keeping things real, even after you’re gone.
(By the way, I didn’t want to get diverted by explaining what lymphoedema is so, if you don’t know, I suggest you ask Mr. Google.)