Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Voice from oblivion.

With shaky, effortful, broken voice and painfully twisted neck it is good to be back! My excitement about our World Voice Day Movement Disorders Symposium five and a half months ago is as alive now as it was then. What an event it turned out to be! Prior to the Symposium here in Cairns, Maureen Slocum and I travelled from Cairns, Australia, to Salt Lake City in the United States of America. We attended the annual symposium for the National Spasmodic Dysphonia Association and met so many great people. Shortly after those two wondrous events life took a turn down a very bumpy road indeed.

In the coming week it will be great to write about both symposiums mentioned above. However, a brief overview of recent life events for this dystonian will suffice for now.

Immediately prior to tripping off to the U.S.A. my son and I downsized our home by relocating to a small but comfortable apartment on the Southern side of Cairns. On our second night there we answered a knock on the door only to be asked if we had any marijuana or meth amphetamine! As if that is not hint enough of what lay ahead!

Off I went on my trip to America. After a few days my son phoned saying there were further incidents at the block of units (apartments). Upon return to Cairns I encounted some of the most frightening experiences of my life.

Extreme domestic violence occurred daily in one of the upstairs units. A woman frequently screamed out for assistance so we became quite adept at using the emergency telephone "OOO" code. Following these incidents a violent home invasion occurred directly above.

Weapons were used (gun, wooden clubs and metal bars). Security doors and inner doors were ripped off and thrown over the railings. Threats both verbal and physical were made. Punches and other serious assaults followed. People stood at our rear and front doors preventing our escape. Police were inundated with emergency calls leading to their arrival in force. However, the culprits had means to know where the police were and left the scene immediately prior to police arrival. It was a long night. The young couple from that unit left during the early hours of the morning and have not been sighted since.

Enough? Not so! Another incident at a time close to the home invasion occurred when approximately 30 youths attempted to gain entry to the other upstairs unit in the block of four. On this occasion police quickly responded only to find all these figures jumping fences and running in all directions thus evading arrest. We then discovered that in recent months a young woman in that unit had been raped by an intruder.

What is that I hear you say? Enough is enough? No way!

Next came a group of solvent sniffers in the unit where the youths had attempted to gain entry. Experiences associated with that group are too frightening to relate - I have nightmares! We were sleeping in shifts with one of us awake at all times. We had 'weapons' placed at strategic places throughout the little unit if needed. After some weeks police were unable to control the situation. We felt unsafe and at great risk of significant harm.

Off to a motel we went! What an expensive way to live. Eventually, we found a house suitable for us so relocate we did - again! Whilst all these events took place we experienced serious illness in our family but that is another story entirely.

During the height of drama I attended the Cairns Annual Show as a demonstrator of my handcrafts. It was a relief to sit there for three days talking to people, answering questions and demonstrating some of my 'know-how' around crochet, knitting etc. Won lots of prizes for my entries too!

Two weeks after The Cairns Show, together with my sister (Bettina Glass) and two of our cousins who are also sisters, we presented 'The Talented Taylor girls: connecting threads through the generations' exhibition in the Foyer Art Gallery at the Tableland Regional Council Chambers during the month of August.

Now that was lovely. Our exhibition, an expression of what we believe is inherited talent, was presented as a tribute to our fathers who were two of the Taylor brothers (eight siblings, all very talented artists and master craftsmen - and women!). More about that at a later time.

All things aside, we are now nicely settled in a tranquil little neighbourhood close to the Cairns Botanic Gardens, finally able to get on with our lives - Internet reconnected today.

Thank you for all the emails in my mailbox. I will get around to answering. Apologies to all those people who have emails returned. My mailbox filled quickly!

Looking forward to writing regularly again. Do explore the highlighted links and return soon. You are very welcome!

Sue Bayliss. Cairns, Australia.

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