I’m Bossymamma and I’m A…

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Only one pair is mine.

I’m Bossymamma and I’m a “Disabled Person”.

Just this week I have realised that I am a “Disabled Person”. It has been a shock as I really hadn’t thought of myself as such. Yes, I have disabilities but, in my mind, that didn’t actually mean that I was a “Disabled Person”. I don’t know what I thought a “Disabled Person” was, but I know that I didn’t think I was one of them. But, as I say, this week that all changed and I can’t even say why it has changed. Admittedly, my walking has become even worse – it seems to worsen every day – and I had to visit the vehicle adaptation company to discuss the options for adapting my new car, oh, and I had my appointment with the Musculo-Skeletal Team this week who are making urgent referrals for a full-spine MRI and to a Neurologist, but none of those things, in isolation, made me believe I am a “Disabled Person”. Maybe it was the cumulative effect of those things? Who knows? How ever you look at it, it doesn’t change the fact that I now feel like a “Disabled Person”. And, if I didn’t feel like one before, then yesterday certainly made sure that I did!

Anne with an “E” and I went to a local town to collect something I had reserved online. As the store we went to is on the same retail park as a large supermarket, I asked Anne with an “E” if she would mind us going into the supermarket. I need to find some proper slippers, rather than the slip-on type I have worn since Tyrannosaurus Rex was a lizard, not a pop group.

My walking was very problematic while we were out – no, actually, it is being problematic all the time but I keep thinking I’m going to have ‘good’ days. Anyway, I really struggled to make it into the supermarket from the car, which was parked in the nearest Disabled bay, even though I was leaning heavily on the trolley. I told Anne with an “E” that I was going to have to use one of the motorised scooters or a wheelchair. We stopped at the Security desk just inside the door and asked where to find a scooter or a wheelchair and he very kindly went and fetched a wheelchair for us. I didn’t want Anne with an “E” to push it but she insisted. (I’ve mentioned that because I don’t want FPR to moan at me!)

As we went about looking for what I needed, we asked one of the staff to help us look. She was pleasant, helpful and respectful. We finished shopping and went to a till. The cashier was chatting in a friendly manner to the father and daughter whose shopping she was checking through the till. When our turn came, the cashier greeted Anne with an “E”, but not me. As she rang up the items (all mine) she made a few comments to Anne with an “E”. While I was fumbling with my shopping bags, she asked Anne with an “E” if she could help. (Can you see a pattern developing here?) I handed her my loyalty card and she managed to take it, even though she wasn’t looking towards it, and offered it back when she had pinged it. I had my credit card ready to pay using the Contactless option but the machine was too far away for me to reach. The cashier told Anne with an “E” that the machine didn’t always work when it was removed from its holder, and proceeded to fiddle with it. Eventually she held the machine out and I was able to reach it to pay. She even gave me the receipt without looking at me!

Those of you who know me well, will be able to imagine how my temper was by this time.

I was absolutely, bl**dy livid. I didn’t say anything to the cashier because I knew I would not be polite. Instead, I asked Anne with an “E” to take me to Customer Services. She seemed a little puzzled but agreed. When the chap at the Customer Services desk first spoke, he looked at Anne with an “E”, not me!

Whoosh!

I opened my mouth and accused him of doing what I had come to complain about i.e. ignored me. He immediately apologised in what appeared to a sincere manner. I explained what had happened at the till and apologised for the way I had snapped at him. I told him that the way the cashier had avoided speaking or even looking at me had made me feel as though she thought she was going to catch ‘disability’, as if it were contagious. He was a lovely young chap and came across well. I felt reassured that he understood why I was aggrieved and how insulted I felt. At first, he was going to write a report because the Customer Services Manager was dealing with a matter in the car park, but he changed his mind and asked if I would mind waiting while he found the manager and explained what had happened. I happily agreed. He found the manager nearby and explained what had happened and I saw the look on her face. I could see she was appalled. She walked over to me, came down so that her eyes were on a level with mine, apologised and explained that their staff training covers how disabled people should be treated and that the cashier seemed not to have understood or taken on board how she should behave. Again, I was reassured by her manner, what she said and how she said it. Now, I don’t say that lightly. I was in a store of a supermarket chain that I don’t particularly like, for many reasons, so for me to accept her and her actions is no small thing. It felt as though she, and the lad I had spoken to, cared about how upset I was by the cashier’s treatment of me – and I don’t say that lightly, either. I am well-known as being sceptical in such circumstances. The manager asked if she could do anything for me so I asked if I might have some flowers, please, but not chrysanthemums (I don’t like ’em). She brought over some lovely roses – one of my favourites. She promised to deal with the matter to ensure that the cashier understood what she should do differently. I left the store satisfied with how my complaint had been dealt with.

Being ignored by that cashier made me feel dirty. I felt diminished by her ignorance. I didn’t like those feelings – who would? – so I complained. However, I didn’t complain just for me, but for every disabled person, many of whom may not feel able, or indeed actually be able, of complaining for themselves. I will not accept that sort of treatment. It only took being in a wheelchair in a shop once for me to receive that sort of treatment. Doesn’t bode well for the future, does it?

Beware World. I will not let you be so dismissive of me or of disabled people, so, think on.

 

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“Making Whoopie”

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Whoopie Loopies.   Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

When I was much younger, I had an LP by Harry Nilsson. On that LP he sang a cover version of the song “Making Whoopie”. (To hear it, click here.) I was reminded of that song today and, in particular, the line that goes: “…Another season, another reason, for making whoopie…”. Why, you might ask? Well, it’s like this…

A few days ago I bought a cushion online, to help relieve the pain in the bottom of my spine. When it arrived, I tried using it, but it wasn’t very successful. I had left it on my armchair overnight. Before going downstairs, this morning, I thought of a way of mimicking what the cushion should do. To try out the idea, I took two towels from the airing cupboard and carried them downstairs. I removed the cushion and folded each of the towels several times, then placed them parallel to each other, with a gap of about three inches, lying from front to back. “Ooh, brilliant!”, I thought.

Hmm. No. Not quite so brilliant.

Why?

Because, when I stood upright again after arranging the towels, I kept on going…

I kept going for so long that I fell flat on my back – again! Ouch! In fact, very ouch!

The pain in the sacral area of my back had finally begun to ease and now it was worse than ever. Oh, botheration. ‘Snot fair. It took me a while to feel ready to try moving. It wasn’t that I thought I had caused any serious injury, but it was darned sore. FPR was by my side, ready to help me up, but it was difficult, although easier than when I fell earlier in the week. (Yes, two falls in one week. Grrr.) That time I had had to crawl to the stairs and pull myself onto the bottom stair, then FPR helped me up onto the second stair. From there, he was able to help me stand. Today was slightly different. With FPR’s help, I was almost able to pull myself up – it was tantalisingly close – so I crawled to the sofa where I was able to push myself up a bit, by pushing on the arm of the sofa and also the arm of the chair, then FPR used some brute force and managed to get me on the sofa, well, sort of. But, anyway, I was able to stand up, with a little more help from FPR.

OK. I can hear you all shouting and clamouring to find out why today’s escapade made me think of that song! It’s simple. The thought going through my head was “Another day, another fall”, which reminded me of the line I quoted above: “…Another season, another reason, for making whoopie…”.

I think making whoopie would have been more fun, don’t you?

 

 

Under Siege

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Morocco. January 2012.

I was going to use the words “A Fond Farewell” at the head of the this but, having already chosen to use the photograph above, I decided “Under Siege’ would be better. Well, there’s not much difference between the two headings, is there? Actually, they are both applicable to this post.

Since I fell, nearly a week and a half ago, I have had quite a bit of pain in the base of my spine. It did start to ease after a week, but it is still uncomfortable to sit in an armchair. I haven’t been able to do much due to the awkward position in which I have had to sit. Consequently, it has given me time to think, to recognise some things and, from there, to make a decision. And, it’s a big decision.

I have realised that it is not safe for me to drive my beloved Alfa Romeo any longer. Although I had extension plates fitted to the pedals, it has not solved my problems driving the car. I no longer have either the strength or the flexibility in my legs to cope with moving my foot from the accelerator to the brake. Neither am I able to properly use those pedals. I can’t manage in FPR’s car, either. I tried to drive his car a couple of weeks ago, but I simply couldn’t manage the pedals.

When my driving problems began, I assumed it was a fairly mild problem that would be sorted out by lengthening the pedal plates in my car. Maybe, at the very beginning, that would have dealt with it. But not now. My mobility is steadily worsening. My last fall knocked my confidence in walking, which doesn’t help. I have needed to use my walking stick indoors, at home, because I feel so unsteady on my feet. I regularly feel as though I am going to fall. I look and feel disabled.

All of a sudden, I am disabled. And it’s been a shock realising just how disabled I am: not only for me, but also for FPR and my family and close friends.

The goalposts haven’t just moved, we’re playing a completely different game, one in which the rules are completely unknown to us. And, it’s scary, r-e-a-l-l-y scary. I really do feel under siege because of how quickly things are changing. I know that there is a chance that my mobility problems will lessen… but they might not. And, even if they do, the chances are that the problems will recur.

With regard to driving, I contacted the Darren at JY Autos (who fitted the pedal plate extensions) to discuss having hand controls fitted in my lovely Alfa. He explained that it isn’t really feasible because of the difficulties getting used to balancing using the left foot on the clutch but the hands for the accelerator. He added that Motability have stopped fitting hand controls in manual cars because of that difficulty. So, reader, it was obvious that I was going to have to change my car. *sigh  I need to have an automatic transmission so that I can have hand controls fitted. *sigh, again  It seems such an extreme change to have to make. Not long ago, I was driving hither and thither and enjoying my lovely car (have you guessed that I really like my Alfa Romeo?), but now I am reduced to having hand controls fitted to an automatic car. I have used the word “reduced” because that is how it feels. Me, my life, my abilities, my freedom, my choices: all reduced. Ever since I passed my driving test, I have loved being able to drive. I like nice cars. I enjoy driving fast, although I haven’t done that for a while. Driving is part of me, it’s part of who I am. Now it is being diminished by my disability, and, as a result, I feel diminshed. ‘Snot fair.

Excuse me while I go and sulk…

in the moments when I’m not looking for a flash new car.

 

It’s A Confidence Thing

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The Firth of Clyde, Scotland. July 2018

I am not a happy bunny!

The extension plates were fitted to the pedals in my car this week. I have been very fatigued this week so have had little opportunity to test how well they solve my problem. I had to go to the Post Office on Friday so took the car because (1) I can’t walk that far, and (2) I wanted to see how I got on with the extended pedal plates. It was not a successful excursion.

FPR and I had arranged that he would walk Mother-in-Law’s dog to the Post Office (no dog hairs in my car, thank you!) so that he could carry my parcels in, as they were far too heavy for me to manage. That part went well, except that I had to call him back before he even made it to the door. Yes, another fall!

This time, I fell backwards, grazing my head on the pavement when my head hit it, and landing on the sacral area of my back. Again, people came to my assistance. I never cease to be grateful for the help I receive from strangers. In total, four individuals came to my aid, one of whom was an ex-nurse. Because I hit my head, they decided that one of the woman would ring for an ambulance to attend. I didn’t demur as I realised that was the sensible thing to do. The two men picked me up, for which I was thankful. The position I was in on the ground made it very difficult for me to get myself up, even with assistance. They sat me on the back seat of my car to await the ambulance. Luckily, my head wasn’t bleeding much and, what blood there was, didn’t soak my handkerchief. I would not have been impressed with gallons of blood sloshing around in my lovely car!

The ex-nurse stayed with me, along with FPR and the dog, but I said to the others that I was OK and they didn’t need to hang around. The ambulance arrived promptly. The paramedic, Gill/Jill, has a specific remit, which is to try to reduce admissions and visits to hospital. She was very pleasant and reassuring and has made a referral for me to the Falls Team, although she advised me that there is a delay in being seen. I don’t mind that, I am just grateful for the input of various services locally.

Gill/Jill cleaned my head wound and confirmed there was no need for me to attend A&E. She offered to drive me home but I decided I would be able to manage. Luckily the rain held off enough for FPR and Lettie (m-i-l’s dog) to walk home.

But then there was ‘afterwards’…

As you may imagine, I was stiff and sore after coming a cropper – in fact, I still am. I began taking Arnica as soon as I arrived home. I usually find that bumps and bruises heal quickly with Arnica, although my sacral area remains painful when I sit. The worst thing, by far, is the effect this fall has had on my confidence. I am feeling very unsteady on my feet, not helped with having an affectionate Black Labrador Retriever wanting to always be within a step of me. In fact, yesterday, I was so worried about falling again, that I used a walking stick indoors.

Immeditately after the fall, I was on the verge of tears – not because of the pain but, rather, because it is proof of how unsafe I am walking outdoors. I was so disappointed by the fall. Add to that the situation vis-a-vis my car pedals, and you can probably see why I am beginning to feel as though I shouldn’t go out alone. I’m not giving in to it, though. If I can’t use the pedals in my car, I shall investigate using hand controls.

The problems for me, when driving, are these:

  • limited flexion in both ankles, and
  • lack of strength in my legs to move from the accelerator to the brake.

I plan to ring the company that organised the pedal plates, to discuss what options there are. I think that I shall change my car at the same time. My car is fairly low, making it difficult to get in and out, sometimes. I’m sure that difficult will likely worsen, so it makes sense to sort out the two problems in one. This means another compromise for me. I have always disliked MPVs and SUVs but, I think, I probably need something along those lines to make access easier. Oh, well, I suppose if I am choosing to deal with it now, before access becomes a dreadful problem, at least it isn’t really being forced on me.

Ho hum…

Because I’m Worth It!

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Photo by John-Mark Smith on Pexels.com

Last weekend I made a rare foray into the city centre of Manchester. Recentlyly, the only times I have tended to go into Manchester are when I have been en route to somewhere else. However, last Saturday was different.

My friend, Kath, belongs to a group that meets in a room at a bookshop in the city centre. Some time ago, she invited me to join her at one of the meetings, and we’ve been trying to organise it ever since. Finally, the day was in sight. I was determined to get there.

I planned my trip as best I could. I scoured maps of Manchester and satellite images on Google Earth to determine if I could park in the vicinity of the meeting place. No, I couldn’t: there were pavement markings along with double yellow lines all around the block where the shop is. So, I moved on to checking the public transport options. It turned out that, if FPR dropped me at our local bus station, I could catch the bus into the city and then go on one of the free Metroshuttle bus routes that circle the main business area of Manchester. OK. I was all set.

Saturday dawned and off I went.

When I alighted the first bus, I noticed a shoe shop that I like had a sale so I decided to walk over there. I had oodles of time so it was unlikely to cause me to be late. Hmm, I hadn’t thought it through properly because, when I left the shoe shop, the only option was to continue walking to the bookshop. Hmmmmm. I have to admit that it was hard going but, at least I did manage to get to the meeting.

When Kath and I left the group, she walked with me to the bus stop where we both caught a Metroshuttle bus. I got off at Shudehill Bus Station. Unfortunately, the stop was at the bottom of the station so I had to slog up quite a steep slope to almost the farthest point to reach the stand where I was told to wait for my bus. Unfortunately, the bus didn’t depart from that stand but from the one further up the slope! And, by the time I had stood up and started to walk towards the stand, the bus was just a distant memory! That meant another slog across to the Enquiry Office and back again. I was worried about being able to get on even the next bus. There were no seats at the stand and, if the next bus only stopped for a few seconds like the previous one had, I could end up waiting all night. I was frustrated, angry and anxious, in equal measure.

As it turned out, I did manage to get on the next bus. Someone had sent a colleague over to ensure I was able to board, for which I was grateful.

By the time the bus reached my home town, I was completely wiped out. I rang FPR and asked him to meet me at a different location where I wouldn’t have to walk so far to the car. Even so, by the time I alighted the bus, I could barely put one foot in front of the other. In fact, as well as using my walking stick, I had to hold on to FPR.

You won’t be surprised to learn that I was like a wrung-out dishrag for the whole of the week. I could manage to do some light tasks whilst sitting in the armchair but, apart from those, I was useless. Even going to the toilet wore me out and I had to rest for half an hour or more after every visit just to reach the dizzy heights of ‘exhausted’.

As the week wore on, I began to feel a little fretful about the pile of ironing that was accruing. Let me say, at this point, I am not houseproud. No-one could ever mistake me for any kind of Domestic Goddess but, occasionally, I start focusing on a particular job that needs doing, and, last week, it was the ironing. By the time Wednesday dawned I had decided to see if I could find someone I could pay to do it for me. As luck would have it, that very morning, I had seen a link to a website called Nextdoor. When a quick search of the internet didn’t yield anyone locally, I decided to try my luck on Nextdoor.

Eureka! I posted asking if anyone knew of any ironing service and, within a short time, a lovely lady called Sonia said would be happy to do it. We agreed a price and she called round on Friday to pick up the pile, then she brought it back later in the day. I was so pleased: my ironing was done, I didn’t have to make myself feel even worse trying to do it and I had helped someone who was keen to earn a bit of extra money. It was a definite win for me, which I needed, because I’m worth it.

 

A Step In The Right Direction

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A Star Wars photo of the ‘Blinking Eye’ in Newcastle. (It was taken on May 4th, 2017)

I went to see The Amazing Dr. A on Monday of last week. I had actually seen him, briefly, the previous week as I was walking along the corridor to the Blood Nurse at the Surgery. That brief interlude had been useful because, when I entered his room on Monday and after the usual pleasantries had been exchanged, he commented on my difficulties walking. (They are very obvious, and even more so on a ‘stiff’ day.) I told him about my hobby of falling and said that I didn’t think I had osteoparosis because I should surely have broken a few bones by now. He seemed to agree with that. He also commented on how quickly my walking deteriorated and I agreed. That led us to talk about my general deterioration over the past few months and its effect on both me and FPR.

FPR and I had had a heart-to-heart the previous night about how and I am at the moment, how quickly things have changed and what might happen in the future. We both agreed that it is scary. And I mean really scary. Becoming a carer for me is a huge, and largely unexpected, commitment for FPR. We had both assumed, due to his own problems, that I would be caring for him, but the tables have turned. This is big stuff. We haven’t signed on the dotted line for the “in sickness and in health” stuff so the prospect of needing FPR as a carer is precarious – for him and for me. There is an expectation that I will be cared for by him, because that’s what couples do, but it still feels precarious. I know that marriage isn’t always permanent, but getting married shows the husband and the wife that they each intend to be committed permanently to the other. This doesn’t mean that I think FPR and I should marry, it’s more a way of explaining my feelings. Don’t imagine that FPR is reluctant to care for me, that is definitely not the case. However, understandably, the prospect is as daunting for him as it is for me. It feels shaky for me, in a similar way to having sold my house and then be living in his house. I suppose some of it is to do with not being in control, which is ridiculous when one considers that one is not in control of what medical conditions one has.

Anyway, enough of that. Let’s get back to The Amazing Dr. A.

I mentioned to TADA (The Amazing Dr. A) that I was worried I might have had a stroke, because of something said by FPR’s neurologist when we saw him recently. However, TADA said that he doesn’t think the deterioration is due to a stroke. He also said my symptoms were a-typical. He had a good look over me, checking various things and said he would refer me to the Musculo-Skeletal Team for their input. He was hopeful that they would be able to put in place some intervention to help me. It sounds to me like a promising step in the right direction.

 

 

A Big Change

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I saw this and it amused me that a coach was smoking!

A couple of days before my mother’s funeral I decided to buy a new car. The car I owned at the time seemed to be jinxed: I lost count of the number of tyres that I had to buy or have repaired. I think I must have had to pay out for new tyres or for puncture repairs at least twice every year since I bought it. The final straw came after I caught the tyre on a sharp object in a car park on the Friday before the funeral. FPR said he would change the wheel the next morning. However, when he tried, the security bolt would not undo. We called out the car breakdown company but the mechanic couldn’t budge it. In the end, the mechanic had to take the car to the local dealership for the bolt to be drilled out on the Monday morning. Given that the funeral was on the Monday and I was due to drive my car to the crematorium, you will understand that I was rather stressed. So, I decided on that Saturday, that I would change my car.

I waited until the New Year and, whilst staying with Little Sis, began looking at cars. I was going to buy something very small but was sidetracked by a sporty beast that I saw and sat in. My Little Boy, once he knew I was looking for a new car, began sending me photos of possible models. The new car didn’t have to meet any particular criteria so it was simply a case of deciding which car took my fancy. That was easy. As soon as I saw the photo of an Alfa Romeo Giulietta, I was hooked. I have quite a bit of fiery Italian blood in my veins and the Alfa suited it down to the ground!

Although I spent more than I might usually have done, I loved and still do love my car. I love the way it drives. I love the gadgets. I love the throb of the engine. I love the styling and all those little extras. Even the pedals in my car have the Alfa Romeo logo. The whole package is stylish and roguish and I love it.

What has all of that to do with Fibromyalgia, you’re probably thinking. Well, the answer is “Too much”.

My body, but in particular my legs, ankles and feet, has stiffened up considerably. My range of movement is somewhat restricted and I am finding it difficult to lift my legs. This causes a problem in my beloved Alfa because those beautiful pedals are too high off for the floor for me to be able to drive comfortably.

At first, I thought I was going to have to change my lovely car. I tried to be sensible about it and not feel like crying when I thought about losing my Alfa. I tried not to think about the amount of money it was going to cost me, both in the drop in value of my Alfa and the cost of a new car. I tried not to mind that my body is letting me down in a big way. But I did, and do, mind. ‘Snot fair! To use those ubiquitous phrases, I am gutted, I’m devastated. Except that, now, I’m not. It looks as though the pedal plates can be lengthened so that they reach down nearer the floor. That means I would be able to use them… and keep my Alfa! I can’t tell you how much I hope that the job is feasible. I have checked with my insurance company that they are happy for the adaptation to be carried out – and they are. All I have to do now is go to the engineering company that makes and installs adaptations in vehicles, so that they can measure up and then manufacture the new plates. It does mean that I shan’t be able to see my lovely, flashy Alfa logo pedal plates any longer, but that’s a small price to pay.

I’m still fed up with the stiffness in my legas, ankles and feet, though.

 

Which Is Steeper?

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View in Norway

I wonder which is steeper: a mountain or a learning curve? This week it has definitely felt as though the learning curve was the winner. Phew!

FPR and I toddled off on another short coach holiday, this time to the Ayrshire coast. We had a great start: the taxi arrived on time (the firm we used is now under new management but had let us down under the old regime) and we had plenty of time to buy some food at the Bus Station before our coach was due to arrive. We had a pleasant driver and the journey to the hotel went well. On arrival, we agreed that FPR would retrieve the cases and I would collect our room key. Good plan… until I fell over! Once again it was simply a case of losing my balance. Honestly, anyone would think I was an old soak the way and I totter and stumble!

When I landed several people proffered help. Two gentlemen, in particular, were very kind and helped me to return to a vertical position. Someone else offered me her arm to keep me steady as I walked towards the ramp, which I gratefully accepted. FPR didn’t realise that I had fallen. Whilst all the drama was going on, he walked into the hotel and was to be seen scanning the crowd to find me. This isn’t lack of interest on FPR’s part, it’s simply a sort of tunnel vision. I am used to it and know that I need to shout to attract his attention. Unfortunately, when I fall, I don’t make enough noise.

Once we had found each other in the lobby and had our room key, we went to find the room. We were pleasantly surprised to see that it was on the ground floor, close to Reception. “Oh, good” we thought. Hah! When it was time for dinner we headed off to Reception to ask where we needed to go. Oh, my goodness. They gave us directions for the ‘easiest’ route:

  • Through the door
  • Along the corridor
  • Out of the Fire Exit
  • Down the metal staircase
  • Across the car park
  • Down the steep path
  • Then into the Restaurant.

Although the staircase was new and in excellent condition, with non-slip treads, I found the prospect of going down rather daunting. My instinctive reaction to shiny metal is that it is slippery so I had tensed up, making it even more difficult to move smoothly. Having said that, I descended without incident. Crossing the car park was no problem. However, the path that I had to negotiate was too steep to walk down comfortably so I was feeling ill at ease. I had to really concentrate to prevent myself from losing balance and falling.

After eating I forewent the pleasures of the steep footpath, metal staircase et al and chose, instead to try the delights of the hotel lift. This entailed walking across a tiled area at the entrance/exit of the Restaurant, with no handrail, parading outside, along the entire length of the Restaurant, going up four concrete steps, with handrail, crossing to another Fire Exit, mounting two tiled steps, again no handrail, through the door, up four carpeted stairs, with handrails, and into the lift. On exiting the lift we had to walk along three corridors, each about 20 yards long, before we reached Reception. I felt nervous crossing the tiled area at the entrance to the Restaurant because of the risk of slipping. The concrete steps, having a handrail, were considerably easier to negotiate, not so the two tiled steps. I simply could not get up those two steps unaided. I was using a walking stick but that alone was not enough. Without a handrail, I needed someone to hold onto. I was very pleased that FPR was with me. As for the three corridors, they were another matter altogether: walking along them felt like running three consecutive marathons – and took almost as long. By the third evening I had realised that it was easier if I used the wall as an additional aid to steady myself. I don’t like putting my hands on the wall because of the dirty marks that appear but needs must. I’m afraid my need to avoid falling is more important to me than someone having to wash a wall. Selfish, but true.

The following morning I accessed the Restaurant by the third available route. It entailed quite a walk before reaching a long staircase to go down. By the time I reached the staircase I needed a rest. I didn’t want to attempt so many steps until my legs had had a rest. My descent was slow but otherwise easy. In fact, this was the easiest route for me to get to the Restaurant although, of course, it wasn’t much use for returning after I had eaten!

On our third day we went to Glasgow where we had just over two hours to amuse ourselves. I think this was the worst part of the holiday, for me. Having to do so much walking, getting on and off the coach and so on, by this time I was exhausted. (Also, the soles of my feet were hurting because of the strange way I now walk.) Consequently, when the coach dropped us just down from George Square, I was totally incapable of walking to the other side of the Square. I thought about getting a taxi to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery but FPR said he wouldn’t do that because of the need to be back on time. I therefore spent the two hours or so sitting in Costa Coffee, reading a newspaper. I can tell you, I was thoroughly miserable. I was sorely disappointed not to be able to see anything of Glasgow. I had looked for one of those round-city tour buses but not seen one – although Mr Murphy kindly supplied TWO of them when I left Costa to go back to the coach! Grrr. Him and his bl**dy Law!

Following my miserable experience in Costa, I have decided that, in future, I will make an effort to get a taxi to a museum or other place of interest so that I don’t have to just sit around. I need to remember to search for telephone numbers for taxi firms beforehand, so that I can ring for a return cab. FPR can accompany me, if he wishes, but otherwise I shall go alone. I would rather remain at the hotel than have to sit like I did in Glasgow – at least I can relax at the hotel.

 

I’m Thinking Of Getting Married Again

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(According to Google this image is copyright-free.)

I am thinking that it would be wise to get married again. I’m not thinking about the presents, the flowing dress, or the fragrant flowers. I’m not thinking of that special commitment to another person. No, I’m thinking of the honeymoon. You are probably wondering where I might choose to go and how long I might want to be away but you would be wrong.

So, why am I talking about getting married and having a honeymoon in this post? Well, it’s simple… As far as the Fibromyalgia is concerned, the honeymoon period is definitely over. Having escaped with very little pain since I was first diagnosed in Autumn 2014, the Fibro has gone into overdrive lately. I am having all sorts of symptoms: some new, others making their presence felt more severely than previously.

I have mentioned on this blog how fortunate I have been that I was having very little pain. In fact, some people challenged my claim to have Fibro because of the general absence of pain. What they neglected to take into account were the myriad other symptoms that I had the dubious pleasure of entertaining. I don’t think I ever took the absence of pain for granted. Rather, I celebrated it and tried to make the most of my luck in that regard. Now, however, things are different, very different. Pain has been an unwelcome visitor recently and I’m not happy about it. The silly thing is that I recently started taking Mirtazapine to help with the symptoms of Fibro because I had read good things about it. Hmph. I am not amused. I could easily begin to think that the Fibro deliberately chose to throw pain into the mix, just to spite me, but that would be silly, wouldn’t it? Hmm, well it certainly seems that Mr. Murphy has decided to play those naughty little tricks of his with his Law.

At the moment, the pain is bearable but I don’t know whether that is because I am taking Mirtazapine, or whether it simply isn’t as bad as it could be. It’s a bit of a conundrum, isn’t it? I will need to speak to the Amazing Dr A in a week or two to discuss how I am getting on with the Mirtazapine as, if I continue to take it, I would like to come off the antidepressant (Citalopram) that I have been taking for some time. The whole point, for me, was to use Mirtazapine to do two jobs, viz to counteract my long term depression and to help in the fight against the Fibro. To my mind, there is little point in taking Mirtazapine if I also have to continue with the Citalopram, unless, of course, the Mirtazapine is working miracles with the pain. I shall have to see how things progress over the next week or so, shan’t I?

 

It’s All Go, Around Here!

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A cooling image of the Dandelion fountain in the King’s Cross area of Sydney.

There seems to be a lot happening at the moment. Actually, one way and another, July has been quite hectic – well, in a Fibromyalgia sort of way. There have been several days each week with things booked in either for me or for FPR, which is unusual. For now, though, a breather is in progress with a visit to my Little Boy and his partner.

Venturing out of home can sometimes feel quite daunting, which is the case at the moment. I had a fall in the street, earlier this week, which shook my confidence. Two lovely young chaps came to my rescue – they reached me just before FPR. I think they must have rescued others as they asked me if I needed a minute before getting up and seemed to know how to help me to my feet. With the experience so recent, the journey ‘dahn saaf’ loomed large including, as it did, a taxi, a bus, a train, a plane and a car.

The taxi was straightforward. The driver was on time and, when we arrived at the station, parked just outside the door. The Rail Replacement Bus wasn’t quite so simple: I couldn’t get up the steps, even with help. I was thankful that the driver moved the bus so that I could stand on the kerb. That extra height made all the difference. It was kind of him to reposition the bus, but doesn’t he know that buses are designed so that passengers can mount from the pavement? Grrrr.

I had booked assistance for Manchester Piccadilly Station. (I had also booked it for Bolton Station but we disabled people mustn’t expect too much, you know.) No-one appeared when the Rail Replacement Bus arrived at Piccadilly but a member of staff offered me her arm to steady me as I alighted. Things improved after that as two security staff came with a motorised buggy to give assistance. They were pleasant and chatty and didn’t make me feel like a nuisance when I needed to go so slowly. Having sat on the train, the Train Manager came along and said she would help when we arrived at the airport. That was just as well as the assistance was booked for a later train! It was not a problem as the Train Manager went to alert staff of the earlier arrival. The railway staff wheeled me to the station entry concourse where two chaps from the airport arrived to assist with the transfer to Terminal 3. These were two more lovely men who were happy to chat. An added bonus was that on that beautiful, bright, but not too hot, early morning they took a route outside the terminal buildings. I can’t tell you how welcome it was to be outside on such a morning!

We went straight to Security, and through to the Passenger Assistance waiting area. I needed something to drink so joined the short queue at the coffee stand next to the waiting area. No sooner had I returned to my seat than another chap arrived to push me to the departure gate. As the gate was deserted when we arrived, I decided to lie down and rest for a while as I was feeling tired. I’m glad I did as it refreshed me.

We were called to the aircraft before other passengers. A platform lift had been requested but a chap came over and asked me if I thought I would be able to climb up the steps, as the platform was too big for the job. As it was a small turbo-prop there were only a handful of steps so I said I would try. He was pleasant and reassuring and said that he and another would be there to help me. I was very pleased that I was able to manage the steps along.

The cabin crew were most welcoming and attentive: I definitely felt well looked after! Another lady was being given assistance and received a similar level of service to that shown to me. We were asked if we would mind waiting until all the other passengers had alighted at our destination before we disembarked and we were happy to do so. Again, everyone was pleasant and helpful.

As for being collected by my Little Boy in his car… Unbelievably, Southend Airport allow just FIVE minutes’ free parking for collecting or dropping off passengers! And the car park is quite a step from the terminal building. That might be long enough for able-bodied passengers, but for anyone else, it is woefully inadequate. I feel a ‘Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells’ letter coming on.

And, tomorrow, it all happens in reverse! Wish me luck!