The Positive and the Negative

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Fairy Chimneys in Cappadocia

This week Dougie came to attack my feet. No, I lie, he came to cut my toenails, it’s just that sometimes it feels as though my feet are being attacked as they are ultra sensitive. I have always had very ticklish feet but now they are even more so. They say that one cannot tickle oneself, well, let me tell you, that’s nonsense! I have always been able to tickle my own feet but now, I can’t help but tickle them. Putting on a pair of shoes or slippers is a nightmare as my feet jump about all over the place whenever they come into contact with the material of the footware. So, you will understand that when Dougie cuts my toenails it tickles me a lot. [Having my toenails cut = Positive. Ticklish feet = Negative.]

Whilst Dougie was here we chatted, as you do. During our conversation he said that one of the things he likes about me is that I am always positive and upbeat. [Positive.]

Now, some people who know me well will be amazed by Dougie’s comment as I don’t think I tend to be like that. However, during my recent, rapid deterioration I actually have been fairly positive and upbeat. [Another Positive.] FPR has tended to be quite negative in his outlook [Negative] (although part of that is probably due to his endogenous depression), but I have not taken on board that negativity [Positive]. I feel that, if I do, it will drag me down to places I don’t want to go.

But…

This week has been different.

This week I have been feeling very down about how I am. At the moment, everything I do is an effort. Getting myself up out of bed and abluted (is that a word?) is an effort. Getting downstairs is an effort. Going to the toilet is an effort. Making a drink is an effort. Walking is an effort. Getting up from the sofa, bending to pick something up, turning over in bed, eating dinner, walking more than a few steps. And, as for going upstairs, that takes a nightmarish amount of effort.

And, all the effort that is needed is getting me down. I’m fed up wth struggling to get up from a dining chair. Fed up with having to rest after I have dressed because it has exhausted me. Fed up with being too exhausted to make or consume breakfast after I have descended the stairs to face the day. Fed up with not being able to carry things up or downstairs because otherwise I am likely to fall; with everything taking two, three or even four times as long to do as it did less than a year ago; struggling to stand by the worktop for long enough to be able to dish up our dinner: yes, I know I could use a perching stool but I’m fed up with being in such a state that I need to even think about having one! I am simply fed up with my lot. I know that very many people are worse off then I am, but that doesn’t make it any easier for me to tolerate my situation this week.

I think one of the main reasons that I am so fed up is that, because of the nature of my condition, I don’t know whether it is temporary or permanent. Consequently, I don’t know if it is worth getting myself a wheeled-walker or a wheelchair, as I don’t know if either or both might become redundant very soon.

Another reason I am fed up is that, for more than a year, I have been looking forward to helping at and attending a particular cultural festival which took place over this past week. However, I simply wasn’t able to get to any of the events. Either the venue was too far from parking facilities, or I was too fatigued to go. So, I have been sorely disappointed and frustrated.

I am hoping that this fed-up-ness is transitory as I don’t much like how it feels, but it has helped to get it off my chest.

Normal service will be resumed next week… I hope.

 

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One Step Forward…

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Seydisfyjordur, Iceland

Ha, that sculpture looks a bit like me when I’m walking! 😁

Last weekend, FPR suggested that he and I go away for a short break. I had had my full-spine MRI carried out on the Friday and the results were not expected for 10 – 14 days. We assumed that little would happen regarding an appointment for me to see a neurologist until the results of the scan were known. So we decided that it would be good for us to grab a few days away from home. As FPR’s ORB is currently enjoying an extended sojourn in her caravan along the shores of an area of sunny Scotland that I had never visited, he suggested that we spend a few days there. I’m always ready for a trip away so I booked a hotel and off we went.

We called to see ORB en route to the hotel. It was a lovely, sunny day, if a bit windy. But, it didn’t stay a lovely day.

I had quite a struggle getting up the two steps at the door of the caravan, but eventually managed it, with help from FPR. However, when we returned to the caravan later it was a very different story. Try as I might, even with much help from FPR, I simply could not mount the steps. I might just as well have attempted to climb the north face of the Eiger! I was more than a little disappointed.

In fact, my walking had deteriorated badly during that day. I could barely even stand, let alone go up any steps. I ended up on the ground at least twice that afternoon, with all the additional problems that come with trying to stand up again. If you will excuse the pun, it was a definite low point. In fact, it set the scene for the remainder of the week. My left foot has been misbehaving badly, which has meant that attempting to go up steps was unlikely to end in success. The foot has been bothering me a lot this week. Consequently my walking has been dire. Luckily, when we arrived at our accommodation, the owner was there and kindly helped FPR to help me access the room. He offered us a disabled-friendly room, which I accepted -and I’m glad I did: it had a ramp instead of a step into the room and it also had a huge shower with a shower chair plus several grab rails in the bathroom. Yep, there’s no doubt about it, I am definitely ”disabled” at the moment.

I was hopeful that Tuesday’s mobility problems would ease overnight but, unfortunately, they didn’t. In fact, I have really struggled to walk for the past five days.

There was one piece of good news during the week: I found out that the neurology team are viewing my case as non-urgent. Although the prospect of waiting for an appointment is disappointing, it is reassuring that they don’t think my condition is life-threatening. In actual fact, I don’t have to wait anything like as long for an appointment as I feared. When we arrived home there was an appointment letter waiting for me, with a date in the first half of November.

Watch this space!

 

Say You Don’t Know

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The summer version of a dog sled in Svalbard. August 2017.

I started writing this post last weekend but forgot to complete and publish it. Here it is, in its tardy glory. This week’s post has yet to be penned (or should that be ‘keyboarded’?).

The last week has been difficult.

I have had three falls in the last week, each one sapping valuable grains of my confidence.

Little Sis asked me this evening if the turning of my left foot is what makes me fall. I can’t blame all of the falls on the rogue left foot. Some of them definitely are caused by the weird behaviour of my left foot, but others seem to have little or nothing to do with it. For example, the second fall happened when I was trying to pick something up from the floor and my legs simply gave way.

Every time I fall I want to burst into tears. So many emotions burst out when I crash land: frustration, disappointment, anger, misery, to name but a few. Generally, I don’t cry when my derriere comes into contact with terra firma. However, on Monday things were different.

FPR was going to be driving me to the dental surgery for an emergency appointment. I had just stepped down, out of our front door, when I lost my balance and went flying. Yet another landing on my coccyx! Honestly, no sooner does the pain begin to ease, than I take another tumble, complete with direct hit on the coccyx! Do you know, I think if I had osteoparosis, my coccyx would be in a thousand pieces by now! As it was, all I ended up with were grazes on my knee, elbow and elsewhere and a sore coccyx, again! I can’t tell you how frustrated I was to have fallen yet again but, even so, I don’t know why that particular fall made the tears flow. I really was very upset and my being upset caused FPR to be upset (but not in tears, I hasten to add). I suppose it was good to release some of the emotions, but it didn’t feel good.

A Day of Mixed Emotions

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My Big Sister

I could do with having my Big Sister around today.

Today has definitely been a day of mixed emotions. This morning the hand controls were finally fitted to my new car. I say “finally” because it feels as though I have been waiting for a long time. I suppose, that is partly because I had had to stop driving my beloved Alfa several weeks ago because it simply wasn’t safe for me to drive because of the lack of movement in my legs. So, when you add that period of not driving to the time since I ordered my new car, it adds up to a fair amount, especially if you are as impatient as I am.

As soon as the chap had finished the installation, I asked if he would come out in the car with me for a few minutes so that I could try out the controls. I was grateful to him for agreeing so we set off for a short induction. I was very excited. At last, I had my freedom back.

Only, I didn’t.

Yes, I could drive myself around – sort of, I have yet to master the hand controls – but once I arrive in the car, what then? My walking has gone completely to pot: and, with it, my confidence.

I had two falls yesterday. Neither caused any serious physical injury, although I could not get up without considerable assistance from FPR, but what they did injure was my confidence in my ability to walk. I am terrified that I am going to fall. It doesn’t matter whether I am indoors or out, I am moving very hesitantly.

Objectively, I know that being so hesitant means I am more likely to fall, but that doesn’t help me to feel confident in putting one foot in front of the other. I am having to really force myself to start moving when I stand up. Not only that, but I am desperately searching for somewhere to place my free hand, to support myself, even though I use a walking stick indoors. As for walking outside, I can almost feel myself shaking with fear.

I know that it is silly to feel so frightened, after all, I haven’t broken any bones in all of the falls I’ve had. However, that doesn’t stop the fear, I still shake like a leaf. With this level of anxiety, I wonder if I should seek some practical help with walking. It is so difficult to know what to do when I’m in the middle of investigations to establish what is going on with my mobility, and why.

One thing’s for sure, I am missing the support of my Big Sister, at the moment.

 

Getting Nowhere, Fast

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Sydney, August 2013

My new car has arrived! It was delivered on Monday afternoon and parked on our driveway. And, apart from two very short shopping expeditions, that’s where it has stayed. I had hoped that the hand controls would have been fitted by now but it’s not happening until, possibly, Tuesday of this coming week. I am a tad frustrated. Having been unable to drive my previous car for very nearly two months, I am keen to get behind the wheel of my new car. I am going stir crazy.

So, my new car has been going nowhere, fast.

The other thing going nowhere fast, is the search for a diagnosis of my mobility problems. Having been told that the urgent MRI scan would probably be done within a week of my hospital appointment, I have today, almost three weeks after I saw the Advanced Physiotherapy Practitioner, finally heard from the hospital with an appointment for the scan to be carried out. My appointment is for Friday of this coming week.

I am relieved to have the appointment as my walking still seems to be deteriorating. I am having to use a walking stick almost the whole time, indoors, and certainly all the time when I am outside. My walking is hesitant as my confidence has been blown to smithereens by the falls that I keep having. I fell, again, last week. This one was a beauty: falling straight back onto a concrete floor with just vinyl flooring to cushion the blow. Do you know, your head can get very sore when it comes into contact with that type of floor? There does appear to have been one benefit of falling this last time: somehow, my coccyx and sacral area of my spine are slightly less painful. The fall must have knocked something back into place – well, almost. See, it’s true about every cloud having a silver lining.

 

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.

 

“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.