Mia talks about her experiences navigating relationships, healthcare, housing and more.
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[Title on screen reads, ‘Mia’s Story’]
[Our Site logo]
My name is Mia Wallace, I live in Forest Hill, Victoria. I am 47 years of age. I have osteogenesis imperfecta, or brittle bones. Thus far, I've had 150 fractures. I live with my husband Troy, who has spina bifida, and is also a full-time wheelchair user. So, osteogenesis imperfecta, or OI, it's not a well-known disability. Not many of us around. It's very rare. It is a genetic condition. So, I was born with OI. So, as soon as I was born, I was born with a broken leg and arm. So, chronic pain is a big issue. So, there's things that I can and can't do. I've found over the years, now I'm starting to have more pain, and it's the older I get, the worse it's getting, unfortunately.
So, I'm more housebound, I can only do one day a week at work. And, in saying that, I am full-time carer to Troy, as well, so I need to, yeah, care for him, as well, as well as my own needs. So, first and foremost, I'm Troy's wife and then carer. That has its challenges, it has over the years, especially in 2017, when Troy was critically ill. He ended up in hospital for 67 days and then when we came home, it was…very full-on for me. So, it was caring for him, trying to get him back...to where he was, after spending nearly three months in hospital. So, prior to the NDIS, we were not getting... Well, we weren't getting any support work at all. I was hesitant to have any surgery or go into hospital, in the fact that I know that I would come home and there wouldn't be any support. Now, there is a lot of support. If I need a break, then they will come in and care for Troy, so...Or knowing that if I need to have surgery, I can come home and know that...it's gonna be there, the support is gonna be there.
[A red brick house]
[A car rear window with cartoon stickers of a man in a wheelchair, a woman in a wheelchair, a cat and a bird]
[Mia in her wheelchair, cuddles her white fluffy cat]
[A cockatiel in a bird cage]
We've been here for nearly 21 years. Prior to that, I was living with Mum and Dad, and that was hard. We made the decision to move out of home, into public housing. And it was the best thing we ever did. It's given us an awesome amount of independence. It has had its challenges, but, in saying that, it's just been fantastic, too. So, we rent from the Department of Human Services, and the house was built for our needs, for Troy and I.
[Mia is in the kitchen. She opens the oven door and slides it under the oven. She cuts cauliflower on a pull out shelf]
So, over the years, a lot has changed, health-wise, for both of us and they've just come back in and made modifications to our needs. First of all, we knew that renting privately wasn't... We did look at private rental options, however it was just going to be all too hard to rent...because the houses weren't modified and the rent was just incredibly expensive. We had to work out what was better, either renting privately and...redesigning the house...or going through the Department of Human Services. So, we applied. We had to fill out a copious amount of paperwork, and that was fine. So, with doctors' letters, OTs' letters, we went from there. But we were not expecting to get called up within a year. We were just very lucky.
So, I am part of two disability advisory committees. The first one I started six years ago with the Whitehorse City Council, disability advisory committee, and that is just the best thing ever. I thoroughly enjoy it, it's a fantastic group. We look at access in the community. There was a new pool being built. A new pool/gym. And there was a lot of things that weren't accessible. For example, the pool chair wasn't right. The pool chair that went right into the pool, that lifts the person from chair into the pool, wasn't right. We just went right through that gym and pool. And we submitted everything and then it was changed.
The second one is the Royal Women's Hospital in Melbourne. I started that in April. March, April. And again, they look at accessibility within hospitals, because a lot of hospitals really are not fully accessible. I'd say people need to get involved. Because if we're not the voice, then...able-bodied people, you know, kinda go, "Well, you know, if they're not gonna get involved”, well, then, there's no voice. If women want to get involved in...being advocates or in disability advisory committees, I'd say contact local council and see if they have disability advisory committees. Most councils do. And then, yeah, just keep applying, because...you know, we're the voice of people with disabilities.
[Text on screen reads, ‘Watch more stories at Our Site oursite.wwda.org.au’]
[The logo for Women with Disabilities Australia (WWDA)]