To all my regular readers let me start by first apologising for yet another commentary on my recent experience during the Queensland floods.
Moving forward and putting the experiences of the recent floods behind us is important but it would be unfair if I did not hand out as much kudos to the saviours of the day as I did, pie in the face, to the ever present band of inepts.
Whether you are as I, in a wheelchair, or live with any of a hundred maladies that require outside help for day to day living there are certain phrases you dread hearing. One of the most unfortunate, yet grossly overused one is “sorry you fall through the cracks,” which is second only to “you don’t fit our funding parameters” or my all time favorite “if we did that for you, we’d have to do it for everyone.” Yet as previously posted this writer contacted all the appropriate agencies for help and was denied time and time again.
Finally after the help of an amazing manageress at Queensland Department of Disabled Services, it was suggested I call S.C.I.L.S. at Nambour. They were, she said, a group who existed to help train and provide services that allowed the permanently disabled to have the selfworth of living independantly. She wasn’t sure I met their requirement (so whats new) as they mainly deal with intellectually disabled but in the midst of a flood, excuse the pun, it was any port in a storm.
I wasn’t holding out much hope, but after 48 hours of hell and being told to basically go to hell by everyone else, this group reacted with empathy, compassion, professionalism and just plain great aussie spirit. I called and the general manager Paul Martin answered his own phone. When I explained that I knew they dealt with mainly intellectually disabled but that I was physically he replied “in the middle of a flood what kind of person would I be to worry about mission statements over human safety.” He asked where we live and told me someone would be over in 5 minutes. Trevor and Chris showed up with a disabled access elevator equipped bus ready to evacuate 2 people, 2 wheelchairs and their belongings. Although we didn’t immediate evaculation, although it wasn’t far off, we did need help and a plan. It was quickly decided that because of their extremely busy day and the ever growing unreliability of mobile phone service that day, that if the rains kept up the same level they would be back in 2 hours and get us out. After checking out the water levels and what was needed to try and keep us safe, Chris the slightly senior of the 2 said ” someone forgot drainage when they built this place. ” I agreed and they left only to have Chris return 1 hour later. With the water 1 inch from our door he returned with a shovel and said “thought I’d dig that drainage for you,” and in monsooning rain he dug a 12 inch deep, almost as wide, 30 foot long drainage ditch from the main point where the waters collected all the way out to the street. He worked for over an hour and then just smiled and left as the water drained like suds from a unplugged bath. Amazing!
Yes, in the following day the water reached the same level many times but without the remarkable efforts of Chris, Trevor and everyone else at S.C.I.L.S. Nambour this post may have been posted by me from a library computer with my wheelchairs and everything I own destroyed.
So to everyone at S.C.I.LS. from my, beautiful spouse and I (and i suspect from many dozens other you helped unselfishly) Thank You. Another huge thanks goes out to someone else S.C.I.L.S put us in touch with … Jim Nugent for coming out here and restoring our faith in faith.
To all others, next time thinking outside the box is too difficult or someone is about to fall through your ever widening cracks do what S.C.I.L.S. would do, build a different shaped box and get your own Chris to seflessly fill the damn cracks so noone is left behind. (www.scils.com.au)
Foot note: Since the floodwaters receeded S.C.I.L.S. hasn’t abandoned us. They have sent social workers and hooked us up with all forms of help. Thanks to them, disabled ramps will be installed in my yard and tomorrow a crew comes to help clean up the moonscape that is my flood damaged yard.