(with the Erternally Grazed Knee) - OPI
14th May 1960 - 22nd December 2022
It is with much sadness that we acknowledge the sudden passing of Sister Mary Backroom [Shane] on the morning of Thursday 22nd December 2022.
Shane, Sister Mary Back Room (of the eternally grazed knee) had a long history with the Sisters of the Sydney House and was one of the Sisters who raised funds by manning the Karen Carpenter memorial hot dog stand at the Midnight Shift with Sr Desmond 33 with a Bloody Good Tan, another Nun who passed recently.
I first met Shane when we were introduced in RPA ICU in the year 2000 because we were ‘kindred spirits’.
Shane was a respected and talented Neurosurgical Intensive Care nurse and even in 2017 when I mentioned his name when supervising students at RPAH neuro ICU experienced staff and even the manager emeritus Christine gave a chuckle and a wry smile. They remembered his skill, his ribald humour and his care delivery skills.
Our paths crossed as Nuns but more often as Leatherfolk. Shane’s recent entry in The Pride of the Hide competition was not his first foray into title competition. He also entered the bodybuilding competition to represent Australia for the Gay Games. He also competed in Mr Sydney Leather at The Barracks.
Shane faced various challenges in life including gay hate crime, physical violence and in later years a number of medical issues. Nothing that I think Shane was ashamed of or feared particularly but faced with courage and determination and managed to bounce back several times. I mention these things to highlight Shane’s positive demeanour and attitude.
After one particularly severe trauma, Shane refused to use a wheel chair after coming home and slowly progressed with the help of the SCIA Neurogym at Rosebury from frame, to walker, to canes, to cane and to balance sticks. There is a great photo of Shane crossing the SCG independently with those sticks in MG Parade. A far cry from when we took 10 minutes to cross Oxford Street at Taylor Square and held up traffic.
Unfortunately Shane’s memory and reasoning became poor and he required assistance to stay at home. Eventually he got NDIS funding after a prolonged battle waged by Alice and his GP practice along with the assistance of very carefully worded correspondence from his various specialists.
Shane revelled in the social opportunity BGF carers and physical therapy at the gym offered. He again insisted on engaging in activity to keep him mobile and engaged. A very positive and helpful decision.
My heart is heavy with sadness with Shane’s passing. His amazing positive outlook and sometimes myopic viewpoint was I feel inspiring and that is how I would like to remember him. With that mischievous grin, evil laugh and a sex drive that just didn’t quit!
To Shane, a life well lived.
- Sister Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation II