Monday, 28 July 2008

How To Do a Holiday in 24 Hours

Well today was very British. A 1940s theme at Avoncroft museum, complete with music, rationing, identity cards, air raid sirens and a skirmish between the Allied Forces and the Germans.

I feel that for once, pacing and keeping calm has seen me through a wedding, a night away and a day out all in 24 hours. Here's how I did it: I rested for two days, paced throughout last night and booked a carer through my local agency for today. He arrived at the reception venue bang on time and drove my son and I to the museum. Then in blazing sunshine he pushed me round in a wheelchair without complaint. We dived for shade and drank gallons of water at every available opportunity, and it all went very well.

The air raid was very dramatic. I couldn't get to the part where it was going on quickly enough in the wheelchair so I sent my son off to experience it for himself. It occurred to me that children would have been caught in raids all the time without their parents. Then I felt a sense of unease at being in a wheelchair. I'd have been stuffed in a real situation! And I saved a special glare for the German troops manning a checkpoint in one corner of the museum. My son said the actual air raid was quite comical and 'a bit all over the place'. I think he wanted more gore and groaning, but this was Worcestershire on a pleasant summer's afternoon.

If I may for a second extol the virtues of going out with a carer you've never met. None of the usual moans one can get if going out with family. No need for endless chit chat - it's enough coping with being out to be honest. This particular carer was a full-time nurse at a local hospital so had I suffered heat stroke he'd have sorted me out. As it was he was sensible enough to keep me in the shade every time we parked up in the wheelchair. And he pushes people in chairs every day, so he was very, very good. Even gravel was bearable.

I felt totally relaxed, so glad to not be navigating crowds by using my scooter (I didn't realise how much focus this takes, and what it can take away from a trip out...this is my first push, so to speak). There were a couple of 'moments'. You know the sort, people not talking to you directly, or talking to you like you are five. But I just didn't care. We ate ice cream, listened to 40s music amid granaries, Toll houses, all manner of buildings. Here's a lovely photo of a Norfolk windmill, not in Norfolk. Avoncroft is one of those museums that transports and rebuilds historic, important buildings to preserve them until they really do fall apart. A lovely quaint little place.

Just seeing how much my son enjoyed the weekend was the icing on the wedding cake. The reception was pretty tiring but it could have been a lot more challenging had we all been inside. As it was, most people were in the garden as the weather was so glorious. So my fears about pounding music were allayed. I went in to watch the first dance, and promptly left again. One belter was enough. I chatted to a couple of people I knew, then went for a rest. We were in bed by 11pm. I looked positively radiant at breakfast compared to everyone else with their utterly stinking hangovers. Actually, I looked as rubbish as always, but was in good company for once.

I'm going to get hold of a manual wheelchair for the rest of the summer. Bugger staying in. The scooter is fine for local trips but I want to see farther than my corner shop or supermarket. And as I use such a good agency, I feel that even on a bad day I could benefit from being pushed around the park. This weekend was totally about freedom and independence. It was great! Oh, and I promised my son we'd do another 24 hour holiday before he goes back to school.

Friday, 25 July 2008

Summer In The City

Last night was great. My neighbours had a sixties summer CD on and it drifted across to me, which is always a good way for music to happen where I'm concerned. I was having a bath and looking out of my window at the tree against the sky.

Windows open, sound of the city outside (why does it always sound better in hot weather) and The Kinks and co wafting over from next door.

I'm going to a wedding reception! First time I've been to one since becoming ill. And yes, I know I can't ask the DJ to turn it down. But the weather looks like it's going to be great so I'm hoping to just lurk outside if I need a rest. Failing that, I've booked a room. So plenty of recovery time available before heading back home. Plus it's not far away, which is why I took the plunge and decided we'd go in the first place.

Sunday, 20 July 2008

The Bitter Truth

Sometimes the truth hurts. This is going to cause a big collective Ouch! or possibly a Meeeow! It contains a valid point though so I'm posting it.

My ex is as I write still caught in what must surely be one of the biggest traffic jams ever known, trying to extricate himself and our son from a festival site. I was low on sympathy and big on self-pity today as I was looking forward to spending some time with our son on his return. Instead he's spent nine hours stuck in a campsite. And I've been stuck indoors wishing I was there.

So the texts were flying. I was annoyed, we both became unreasonable. I knew it wasn't, and still isn't my ex's fault. So what made me text the following? It was like a lightning bolt of pure truth blew the rest of our squabbles away:

"The huge irony is that had you learned to deal with me being disabled we'd have hired a camper van, been able to park in the disabled area and been one of the first out. Serves you right. Ha."

And they call Disability Bitch a bitch? You know what though? He texted back:

"Thanks. Fair enough. Some truth in that."
The truth really can hurt but even as I type it still rings truer than true. Would I have seen much of the festival had I gone? That's not the point. I would have been there because my ex accepted my disability and wanted me to be part of something, however much or little I actually ventured from the camper van of my dreams. Right, back to sulking. Not the best of days for any of the former members of our fractured little family.

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Sweet Shop Time

It's quite reassuring having a whole load of photos to look at when I've not been out. These are from the local Open Gardens scheme which is becoming an annual favourite of mine. It's very accessible, serves top cake and is in many ways more interesting than visiting a public space because each back garden is so different and so lovingly tended.

I think one of the attractions with this event is that we Brits do love a good nose around. My son and I took a taxi between four gardens over the course of an afternoon. Plenty of time to sip tea and eat cake in between taking turns with the camera. Maybe it's the area the event is held in, but everyone was very friendly, swapping ideas and having a good natter. I started this post just after filing the pix, promptly forgot about it and decided to finish it this evening to brighten things up a bit.

This one below was such a teeny tiny flower, but the colour packed into a space smaller than a postage stamp was really quite something. And yet, you could have walked right past it. I rejoiced in having my little fold-up fishing stool thing. Sitting down becomes necessary after a short time with me, and is an absolute bonus when photographing flowers.

Given there are quite a few more images I'll stop gorging for now and let a few pop up occasionally to add a splash of colour when things are getting drab.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

And Then There Was One

I've had two little friends causing me a bit of bother of late. Sadly not imaginary, nor particularly welcome.

One in particular was causing mighty interference with my inner workings. So, yesterday Little Ms Fundal Fibrous Polyp was forcibly evicted, leaving Little Ms Fibroid sobbing "All By Myself" into an imaginary microphone, Bridget Jones stylee.

This is a brief post. Polyp removal is straightforward enough and can be done without anaesthetic. Given my risk of complications arising from anaesthetics, I took the plunge and endured seven minutes (yes, I eternity) of teeth-grinding unpleasantness.

The worst bit was actually in the recovery room when all the nerves surrounding my uterus decided to have a big internal firework display in protest at a major cavity being pumped full of saline fluid.

Still, although a little tired today, the pain was temporary and I am finally free of my unwelcome guest. All two centimetres of her. I find it bizarre that something the size of a grape could have been causing so much rumpus on a monthly basis.

I have to confess I felt quite chuffed when the consultant came in and asked if I'd feed back on natural pain relief. I agreed to be part of a polyp removal research project before it was done and it would seem, being a crip an' all that I will be most useful to them. And I thought they'd just laugh if I insisted on plugging into my relaxation music and huffing and puffing rhythmically.
Last time I did that I had a baby.