Ann and her pal Sophie
One of our Busselton clients Ann reached out to POOPS after she experienced some ill health in 2019.
Leg and back issues landed her in hospital a few times. Heart failure lead to a pacemaker, and if that wasn’t challenging enough, Ann lost the middle vision in her eyes due to age-related Macular Degeneration or AMD – a condition she’s had for over 20 years.
All of this meant walking her little poppet Sophie was out of the question.
So Ann contacted POOPS, and we’re delighted to report Sophie now has a number of volunteers walking her every week. But it’s not only Sophie feeling the perks from volunteers stopping by. Ann says she really enjoys the visits from her volunteers, who love to chat as much as she does:
I think it's the best thing that's ever happened to me since I've been here. Before I was getting really down, not down in the dumps - but you're just on your own a lot. Now I've got people coming nearly every day. Sophie and I have a very busy life meeting people - and I love meeting people, I really do.
Ann had AMD for over 20 years, but she didn’t realise it in the early years. Thinking back on it now, she can see how it affected work she did with her late husband, Graeme, on their farms. One such incident she recalls with a chuckle:
We were putting fences on the banks and my husband said, "That's got a dreadful curve in it!" Neither of us realised it was because of my eyes. It didn't make much difference though, because the sheep would just come up to it anyway. Now I see things that I did and I think, 'that's why they're crooked'.... you just don't realise do you!
Ann remembers those years with Graeme fondly, moving around from farm to farm after they married in 1960 – tending to sheep, fixing up houses, or building them bit by bit over time. Anyone who’s attempted any kind of home renovations with a partner, or just watched an episode of The Block can attest to the fact that home renovation is shaky ground for relationships. Surprisingly though, in the 48 years they were together, and throughout many renovations, Ann doesn’t remember any major arguments, which is pretty remarkable.
So we asked Ann, what was their secret?
Thinking back she attributes it to a few things. The way she says they communicated with each other is that they discussed everything. With the exception of one thing, which they agreed was off limits:
In the beginning we said we'd never say anything about each others parents and relations because it can be very hurtful
Chatting to Ann it’s clear that both her and Graeme had great senses of humour, which also would have helped, but so too would the fact that Graeme sounds like an absolute sweetheart:
Graeme use to say, the older we get the more I'm in love with you...and he never stopped showing his love to me wherever we were. It was just one of those things
Graeme’s passing after almost 50 years together impacted Ann in many ways. Not only did he leave what she describes as a ‘huge hole in her heart’, but practically-speaking she’s also had to adapt to a great deal of change. Leaving country life, learning to drive on her own again and speaking up for herself.
Ann’s recent health issues have meant she is yet again having to face further change and POOPS is so grateful that in some small way we’ve been able to help Ann and Sophie to deal with that change.