It has been a busy week. Exams, a school trip to Belgium, dinner out for Grandad’s birthday, SATS week at the primary school – and this is just the kids. The boys kept enthusing about how peaceful the house was last weekend without their sister, although when she returned from the battlefields trip she said that they both kept messaging her! The student engineer is half way through his end of year exams – this means only 5 more to go. He keeps telling us how hard done by he is as all his mates only have 2 or 3, and all of his are maths – well, yes son, you are studying engineering!
For me it has been a week of catching up with friends, one whom I hadn’t seen for several years. The other is a nursing friend – we started at the hospice on the same day and have since shared the same neurosurgeon for our backs and now the same physio for our different, but equally odd conditions! She for an ankle injury, me for my shoulders. I wonder if it says something about nurses of a certain age and the wear and tear on our bodies?!
I personally find catching up with old friends a mixed blessing when living with chronic problems. On the one hand it can serve as a stark reminder of just how much said issues have impacted on life in the intervening years. I remember a couple of years back when I went out with some ante natal friends for dinner – I think that I had undergone my first spinal fusion and had recently started using a walking stick (pink & sparkly!) – and one of the other “girls” kept saying to me that she couldn’t believe it and by the time we left the restaurant, she had become so upset by my condition that she was in tears. I comforted her and told her not to upset herself! My friend whom I hadn’t seen until last week has been through some horrendous health issues herself, yet she immediately said she could see that I have deteriorated. Yes my physical condition has worsened, yet I haven’t experienced a potentially fatal condition – but my friend contacted me the next day to say that I am an inspiration to her for the way in which I have coped. We have both undergone major life changes due to very different illnesses, both debilitating in their own ways. My friend, if you are reading you know who you are – and you are the one who is inspirational to me!
On the other hand, I was told three days on the trot this week that I am looking so much brighter and more like the old me. It seems odd when actually my mobility has been considerably worse this week and a dislocation of my right hip has left me with excruciating joint pain. But my nurse friend immediately asked if I felt different for stopping some of the drugs – she recognised that the difference was in my head! The clearing of the brain fog…….she suffered terribly when on pregabalin and knows only too well the inability to concentrate, the feelings of drowsiness and disconnection from the world. Whilst I am still taking 600mg pregabalin, I do feel that my memory is returning since stopping the opiates and combine this with some weight loss, hey presto….Duncan says he is getting his wife back. Hmmm, not sure if that is a compliment or not……
What else has happened this week? My change in profession – or now lack of – was brought home to me for International Nurses’ Day and Dying Matters awareness week. But Duncan has taken the next step in a new direction this week as his hand made, bespoke audio speakers have gone to be reviewed by a hifi magazine. He says it feels like sending his baby off – the thought of someone else disliking your creation before it has even really taken shape is scary. We managed an evening out for the National Theatre Live encore screening of Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge. It was absolutely fantastic – Mark Strong and Nicola Walker headed a great cast, and the set was brilliant in its simplicity – spoilt only by two things. The length, as I had failed to check in advance as any good disabled, pain ridden diva would do – only to find that there was no interval, and the fact that we were sharing the cinema with a group of 16 year old boys obviously studying Miller for GCSE. Not sure which was worse….finding myself stuck in a very long performance, or sharing said performance with 16 year old school boys!
Finally, Eurovision! That American got my vote – wait a minute, Justin Timberlake wasn’t a contestant. So the Ukraine win with a cheerful song about ethnic cleansing and I wait for the 17 year old to return from a Eurovision gathering. Enjoy your weekend!