My Story | Who is Leonie Henskie? Part 3

I have been thinking more about this and reading Brendon Burchard Millionaire Messenger it has made me think of putting a lot of more detail into my adult life as really so much has happened.

Events that stand out and I am going to go more into more detail for me have been generally related to dealing with sick people. I can also talk about rescue training I have done as well.

In the last two posts I discussed a quick overview my childhood and an overview of my adult-life.  I have been thinking more about this and reading Brendon Burchard Millionaire Messenger it has made me think of putting a lot of more detail into my adult life as really so much has happened.

Events that stand out and I am going to go more into more detail for me have been generally related to challenges I have faced. I will also talk about a number of positive things I have done as well.  There are lots of great things that happen.

I am only going to talk about things I was living through daily.  The other half of my family were going through a lot as well but because I was based in Wellington I was not living through things like my grandfather’s illness and the various setbacks my parents have had.

Let me start near the beginning.

I met Alan at CIT Heretaunga Upper Hutt.  He was doing Computer studies and I was doing Pharmacy school.  That year I found out that that exams and I just did not agree.  I had been top of the class in some subjects and after exams found that I was middle of the class.  I also failed some papers so my parents said after Specials it was better for me to stay in Wellington as the job situation was better there.

Once Alan and I had our own flat we got involved in Civil Defence training and were part of the Wellington Emergency response team.  Through this training we learned to do everything related to civil defence and emergency training however I am happy to say that in the time we were doing the training there were no civil emergencies but we were involved in a number of exercises over the years we were practising.  This training I believe has prepared me for the rest of what life has thrown me over the years.

Not long after we got married I got a call at work to say that Alan was been taken to hospital as he had had an electric shock.  That was the first of many hospital visits over the years, whether it was my husband, father-in-law, brother-in-law, Mother-in-law or Grandmother-in-law.  I have only personally been in once or twice for myself.

You get very good at immediately getting into action.  That was the first time and Alan was home before I got home because he had been discharged already.  What had happened was a computer monitor had discharged into him when he was turning his monitor on.  He had been seated in a wheelie chair and next thing he knew the chair he was on and him were on the other side of the four chair pod. He walked into his bosses office and they immediately organised for him to be transferred to hospital. The hospital found the entry point and a discharge point and the result of it was his body was a C for the next few days while the muscles contracted on one side and extended on the other.  That was probably the most minor of the hospital visits or illnesses we have had to deal with.

We have also had to work our way through financial challenges.

Even though my parents put in to help us with the deposit for the house mortgage rates were high, and  we were dealing with the early 90s interest rates.  Our mortgage rates were the equivalent to credit card rates.  We were both working three jobs and we had a boarder just to have enough to pay the bills.  We were working our day jobs, doing telemarketing for a time share company in the evenings and we were also doing door to door surveys in the weekends for a research company (and we were both in what was considered well paid jobs for our age group). One really good thing about that night job is we got ourselves a timeshare in Taupo where we have gone on holiday for a further 20 years.  That was what we consider a good investment.  Because it has given us a resort quality holiday every year for seven days for a quarter of the price of a resort holiday normally.  So today we laugh at the fact that the mortgage rates are so low(mid single figure) and that people are worried about a 1 or two percent increase.

Alan’s father also started a bookshop in the mid nineties.  By then we had stopped doing multiple jobs and were only doing the main day job but we did still have a boarder.  Not long after he started it Alan decided to pick up half the shop and create a games shop out it  and that meant that from then on, we were busy every weekend working the shop, doing our own jobs through the week, and also going to Games clubs.  We used to to go to Wargames club in Upper Hutt, Wellington Central, Johnsonville and even Levin once a month.  We had sales tables at these clubs and Alan was also a gamer.  It was nothing unusual for Alan’s fellow gamers to call us in the evening and ask if some order had come in, come and pick up Alan, go to the shop collect their order and then drop Alan home again.

We had the shop for about four years until Brian had to close it as his health had deteriorated  too much for him to be able to run it.  He offered it to us but it really was not making the kind of income we were getting through our day jobs.  Alan’s father had Emphysema and as a result once he was on Oxygen 24 hours a day and we knew that it could be anytime that we could get bad news.

Brian broke a lot of health records, he was on Oxygen 24 hours a day for 10 years and  still driving him self around up until about a year before he passed.  He had a portable oxygen unit which enabled him to go everywhere.  He would go into hospital many times for his emphysema, with complications like Pneumonia, and even just colds but he was stubborn and it was not until he had a stroke on top of everything else that he finally gave up. There were many times I would have to organise to pick up his vehicle from where it had been abandoned because an ambulance had to pick him up or he had been admitted to hospital.

He was nicknamed Darth Vader by a number of our friends because of the portable oxygen tank that he carried everywhere with him. Because of these frequent hospital visits Alan and I got very good at working out whether we had to drop everything to go to the hospital or if it was just another quick visit and he would be home again in a few days.  As a result of this need for quick response we did not like to travel very far as we knew that we had to be able to get home quickly to help Alan’s mother, Betty  at any time, especially as I was the only one other than Brian that drove.

It got to the stage where Betty and Brian knew the names of all of the Wellington Ambulance staff and the staff knew that they would need two people at all times to lift Brian into the ambulance and that it was a really difficult drive to manoeuvre.  They also knew that when they were called a paramedic would need to be ready as Brian would normally need morphine to help get his breathing under control.  As Brian’s health deteriorated he needed a wheelchair and Betty had to wheel him everywhere.  Betty became very good at manouevring that chair everywhere and was an extremely patient woman.  Because of the mobile oxygen tank Betty and Brian were still able to go on holiday, but they always needed to have the oxygen refiller with them and could really only drive as Brian could not go on planes.

It is the dedication that these Wellington Free Ambulance people showed to our family that has made Alan and I say that one of the things we want to do with our life is be able to buy and equip and crew and maintain an ambulance for the Wellington Free Ambulance.  That is one of the whys of me doing this business.

Betty and Brian tried to live as normal life as possible, they still would go to things like the movies etc for as long as they could. Betty and Brian helped a lot of people over the years.  They had both been heavily involved in scouts for many years and it was only natural that Brian would be instrumental in organising a local COPD support Group (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) to help others in the community.

Often when we were away we would get a call from Betty to say that Brian was in hospital.  We would talk it through with her and work out if there was any need for us to rush home or not.  Fortunately I do not remember anytime when we actually rushed home. But there was always that chance.

Early on in our marriage Alan suffered a dose of Chronic Fatigue syndrome.  This was bought on because Alan used to drink about 12 filter cups of coffee a day and his adrenal glands stopped working.  When his doctor said he would be off work for 6 months his boss suggested he go and see a naturopath.  We did and by use of vitamins and stopping coffee drinking he was back at work again in three months instead of six months.  Fortunately another friend of ours was also off work at the time because of a mental illness so she was able to take him along to some of the therapy classes she was doing so he didn’t go stir crazy.

At the time I working as a professional temporary so often could not be around when I wanted to be.  I would get a bit sidetracked sometimes worrying about Alan so when Alan went back to work it was time for me to leave office life for a while.

At the time I was starting a new venture.  I was working from home doing international wholesaling, doing data entry and also having my first experience of web marketing.  We  did a night course on Small Business Management together during this time and loved working with other people designing their businesses. Other activities we did over this time was arrange a series of big dance parties which got international visitors. We were very proud of these and we had newspaper coverage at the time.  The last of these parties was run in 2002.

When my grandparents got to their 60th Wedding Anniversary, Alan and I managed to get the Cards they received from the Governor General and Prime Minister of the time, framed and gave them that for their gift.  To me this is a great achievement and I want for us to reach our 60th as well.

Nan and Grandad had moved into a retirement village some years before as they wanted to be in charge of their own fate.  They knew they wanted to be somewhere where they could get help at the touch of a button, but still live life independently for as long as possible.  Where they were they had a beautiful rose garden that was their pride and joy.  Grandad loved tending the garden and when he couldn’t do it any more it was tenderly looked after by the retirement village groundskeeper. Nan loved looking at and smelling the roses.  I think that is possibly where I get my great love of taking photos of flowers comes from.  Grandad could paint but I do not have that creativity so instead I take photos like the one at the top of this post.

Grandad’s funeral was the first funeral I had ever attended.  It was beautiful because the people that spoke at it had such amazing memories of Grandad as a younger man.  All sorts of anecdotes came out about him that I would never have known.  To me he had only been my grandfather that had been there for me and stood up for me for years.

There is a lot more to tell and I will tell you more in the next installment.

Please let me know if I can help you with anything I have talked about today.  Come and meet me on Facebook, I would love to chat and please if anything here has caught your attention today please leave a comment.



10 thoughts on “My Story | Who is Leonie Henskie? Part 3”

  1. Certainly sounds like you did not have a boring life thus far, Leonie. Lots of things going on, and thank goodness you both had that special training. Thanks for sharing your itneresting life.

    1. Thanks Carol. Writing this has been revealing to me. You really do not think about what you have been through until you review what has happened.

    1. Thanks Helen. I know you have lived a lot of life too. Reading Millionaire Messenger this time a particular phrase struck me about people want to know that you have lived through what the have been through or are going through so it made me start really thinking about what I had done in life.

  2. It is great to pick up on the story of your life from Part 2 Leonie:) I appreciate the transparency you show with telling your life story, and look forward to your next post! This is such a nice way to get to know more about you! Thanks for sharing!

  3. thanks for sharing this story about yourself Leonie. I have not seen part 1 or 2 yet but I will be sure to go back and read them. It’s nice to know more about you! More people should do this – you certainly are a go getter!

    1. Thanks Nancy. I have been reading more and more things that have made me want to share my story so people can understand me.

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