Life lessons from the not-that-wild West

Monday, June 20, 2022 Permalink

I’ve recently spent almost three weeks on the other side of the country. Literally about as far as I could go from my Queensland coastline… traversing central and western Australia to the West Kimberley. It was a work trip of course. Someone was on leave and I’d been asked to help out in their absence.

I knew it was going to be a challenging time. The office was due to move and one of our projects was being transitioned to another organisation. Unfortunately it was even more tumultuous as the much-awaited move to nicer surroundings was cancelled. So… there were quite a few disappointments to manage while I was there. And a lot of (understandable) frustration.

The time away did however step me outside of my comfort zone a little and give me some time to reflect.

1. I’m not completely devoid of interpersonal and social skills nor have I lost my managerial capabilities

The time in Derby actually went incredibly quickly. I’d thought I was only going for two weeks but then it was extended. Before I left I’d been adamant I wouldn’t agree to three weeks… it’s always hard when you don’t have kids or pets or a partner to use as an excuse. Explaining that your house will be left empty and your indoor plants will die isn’t really a good reason to offer up when you’re trying to be a good colleague and citizen.

I did hit a bit of a wall at the end of the second week but that was mainly cos it was stressful – emotionally for the staff and me trying to be there for them.

I did some in-town sightseeing while there though and adored these marsh sculptures.

At various times I felt useful / helpful but also like I’d achieved absolutely nothing. My presence was (I think) well-received however and it was nice to be reminded I’m not completely devoid of social skills. Sitting at home working from my study-cum-third-bedroom can mean you forget that.

2. I need to get better at asking for help

Just before leaving Derby I tripped over and somehow managed to injure both ankles. I then ‘endured’ a 3hr drive to the departure point of my first flight. As I hobbled into the regional airport check-in the lovely Qantas person asked if I needed assistance getting on and off planes (I had three to catch). I was horrified, “Oh no!” I said. #famouslastwords

One 3hr flight later I had a 6hr wait at the Perth airport where only one restaurant/bar was open. IT WAS THE LONGEST SIX HOURS OF MY LIFE. I’d purchased some anti-inflammatory cream and pressure socks but my ankles were exploding and I had shooting pains in my legs. I was paranoid about DVT so tried to hobble around a bit and not stay still.

The next 5.5hr flight departed at midnight, followed by another 3 hour wait until I finally caught the last flight home, arriving 24hrs after I’d left the other side of the country. I’d managed to get a doctor’s appointment but he didn’t think there was any serious damage to my ankles and suggested I ice and rest them – which of course I hadn’t been able to do before then.

I’m not quite sure what airport staff could have done for me. I saw others being pushed in wheelchairs and buggies taking them to planes departing from the tarmac (which two of mine did and involved climbing stairs) but in retrospect the whole experience may have been less stressful had I asked for help. Or at least asked what my options were.

Happily, though my ankles are still bruised and I’m hobbling, I’ve been far less incapacitated than I expected to be over the past week since arriving home.

I’d like to use the work trip and work stuff as my excuse for not writing and blogging (or reading and reviewing) much of late. I get anxious and guilty about it but then realise it’s only me putting these expectations on myself. I knew Denyse Whelan is ending her blog link-up today though, so wanted to join in one last time.

Meanwhile… I’ve been out of the loop so wondering what’s been happening in everyone else’s universe. 


  • Jennifer Jones
    June 20, 2022

    Hi Deb Your photos look so painful. That must have been a dreadful trip home. I can’t give you any advice about asking for help as I can’t do it either. It drives my partner nuts. He’s always telling me to just ask someone. After working from home, I can imagine the stress of your work trip. Well done for doing it.

    • Debbish
      June 20, 2022

      The trip home was horrible Jennifer. I’d made the decision not to transit anywhere as it’s such a hassle to wait for your luggage, go to a hotel then check your luggage back in the next day. So, I figured I’d deal with long airport stopovers. And I’d planned to taxi somewhere for dinner in Perth while I was there for 6hrs at night, but of course (after the injury) getting myself from the terminal to the taxi rank etc was too much to deal with so I stayed put.

  • leannelc
    June 20, 2022

    Hi Deb – sorry to hear about your pain and those photos look really sore and difficult. My mum has become the Queen of airport wheelchair use. She loves being pushed around and taken to the front of the queue and helped with everything – she expecially loved it when she got to ride on the little airport gopher thingies. I hate asking for help too – but I definitely think we can be our own worst enemies at times.

    Glad the trip went well and got you out and about. If you ever make it to the SW of WA make sure you let me know and we’ll catch up for a chat.

    • Debbish
      June 20, 2022

      I did see a guy getting pushed by a friend in an airport wheelchair. He got out of it a few times. I’m not sure if I’d have needed someone with me though, to push me. I’m sure an airline person wouldn’t be available for hours on end. It would have been nice to ‘hole’ up in the Qantas Club or something though while stuck in Perth airport for 6hrs.

      I’d gotten jostled quite badly getting on the plane in Broome and then off in Perth so when they announced business class and families could board in Perth I hobbled up and asked if I could get on then as well so I didn’t get pushed along (and they were happy for me to do so).

  • Vanessa
    June 20, 2022

    My ankle definitely took inspo from yours, you thought leader you!! 🙂 And yes it is hard to accept help but it’s important to. I need some kind of mobility device – but only for the government ironically. Between my non healing injuries and post covid fatigue, I can’t stand in queues and it seems like the only time I need to is for governmentey stuff 🙂 Glad you made it home ok, was secretly worried they wouldn’t let you fly if they saw how bad it was. I’ve had the “but you don’t have kids” used against me by former employers – like…so what? We’re entitled to like or dislike disrupting our lives, kids, partners, pets or not.

    • Debbish
      June 20, 2022

      I think if I’d had access to a crutch or something it would have been useful. It was just the situation – being immobile (with added air pressure put on it while in the air) for 24+hrs. The swelling went down in the next day or so thankfully. I hope yours improves as well.

  • Debbie
    June 20, 2022

    Oh my goodness, your ankles look so sore and swollen!!!! The trip home sounds awful and in hindsight as you say maybe asking what your options were may have made things a bit easier on you but that’s why hindsight is a wonderful thing! I love those sculptures in the sunset, so amazing!

    • Debbish
      June 21, 2022

      Ah yes hindsight. I think at the time I was mostly worried about doing more damage than comfort or pain. (And I just wanted to get home!!!)

  • Lydia C. Lee
    June 21, 2022

    As you know, I loved those sculptures – just magnificient. But I seemed to have missed the extent of you injuries! That is horrific – and then the plane would have swollen them more! OMG, def ask for help!! (our vanity really is not our friend as we age!) Hopefully they are better now….And I’m glad you recognised you still had all your work skills. Because OF COURSE you do. That’s why they gave you the job OVER ALL THE OTHER PEOPLE that applied.

    • Debbish
      June 21, 2022

      I had a few staff members telling me I wasn’t allowed to leave or go home which was nice.

      And those sculptures by Mark Norval were amazing. I visited his gallery as well as you know and he seems to foster a lot of local talent.

  • Denyse Whelan Blogs
    June 22, 2022

    I loved seeing your updates from WA when you could post. I also loved reading here that “you haven’t lost those skills you’ve used before”….it must be a little like any role, when you are back in it, things return. That was lovely that they didn’t want you to leave. Well, we had enough convos about your ankles to try to help but you, of course, knew what you were doing. So glad you eventually made it back into YOUR place. And for writing to be part of the last linky. Very touched. Thank you for kindly linking up your blog post for the “last, last lucky last” link up from Denyse Whelan Blogs.

    Bloggers such as yourself have made my day, week and month many times with your kindness, your care and sharing your stories too.

    I am grateful to have had such an opportunity to create and keep a great community of which you have been a valued member.

    I will still be blogging from time to time and I look forward to continuing connections where we might ‘meet’ again.

    Warm wishes,


    • Debbish
      June 23, 2022

      Thanks for hosting this link-up Denyse and I wish I’d been more committed to participating. I follow someone on Facebook who blogs every day and often about nothing in particular – like the old days of blogging and I often miss that.

  • Susanne
    June 23, 2022

    Oh my goodness, your ankles look awful!! I hope you’re better now?

    • Debbish
      June 24, 2022

      Hi Susanne, yes thanks my ankles have improved a lot!

I'd love to hear your thoughts