Thursday, 14 April 2016

Roles Reversed

So, I went into hospital, in an ambulance and everything.  Excruciating abdominal pain involving attempts to vomit, attempts not to move a whisker.  Waves of pain that when at their worst made me shiver violently with teeth chattering with what became an almost mesmerising regularity.  Oh here we go again, big pain hit, count to 5 and here comes the shivering.  Apparently I have an interesting reaction to morphine.  My blood pressure decides it just wants out of here, through the floor or anywhere available and it all gets a bit swimmy.

And there was fella, having to deal with seeing me in massive pain and helpless to help. He strokes my head, and at one point I request his hand resting on my belly while both mine are occupied, what with blood pressure cuffs and morphine.

And I think I know what he's going through and I feel bad.  But I don't know if I do know what he's going through.  I hated being helpless when Dave was in the agony of the shingles head, nothing touching the hurt.  And that's what I assumed, so felt bad for fella as well as bad for me. Hell, eventually all I felt was the need for everything to stop.  I wanted unconscious, or I wanted a large knife to rip my own abdomen out.

I resolutely refused all suggestions of one sided pain or start to pain, and it felt really hard to insist that I was lucid and truthful but kept insisting it was a band across the whole.  Good job really or I might have had a random appendix surgery.  It was a blockage of my small intestine.

In the middle of all of this I somehow transfer to fella all responsibility for us.  He's the one who has to talk to the doctors because sometimes I can't talk through the waves of pain, although I try, and sometimes I am completely unaware of what's happening around me, and couldn't possibly repeat a history of what's happened since we first phoned the NHS helpline.  And I have to relinquish something, not entirely control but I need to depend on him to be the one who holds it all together, and I'm not entirely sure he can do it.  That's always been how I've seen my role, the one who competently manages to keep the plates spinning.

And it's OK, it's all OK, I go in on Monday evening and I'm out on Tuesday evening, confused, bewildered, shell shocked and tired, so damned tired.  All the shivering and the loss of a night's sleep has taken its toll.  Wednesday I cry, those relief kind of tears when you actually get the chance to cry after a trying experience.  Perhaps I should have screamed while I was on the trolley in the hospital corridor for what felt like hours, but I was in silent pain mode.  I didn't cry, I didn't scream.  I may have whimpered, perhaps twice.  And attempted to puke a few times, not that it helped.

And somehow on Wednesday I expect to be as right as rain, and oddly I'm not, and trying to be as right as rain is exhausting.  So that's me, learning to recover.  Trying emotionally to come to grips with an ambulance journey and a night in hospital.  It's a first for me.

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Pinball Wizard

Did you play pinball in your youth?  I remember the electronic machines.  Stuff happened, lights flashed, paddles flicked, bells sounded, springs compressed and exploded.  Sometimes you'd set your ball free and wouldn't have to lift a finger as it ricocheted around the inside of the machine.  You didn't even need to try to flick the flapper, as it were, it was just everywhere, all at once, out of control, bashing into everything.  Sometimes when I look at facebook I realise I have friends like that, their lives resemble that shiny silver ball, no control as they are lurched from one thing to another, they speed up, slow down, get caught behind a barrier, start to fall, and are heartachingly flicked into a completely different place.  It's not easy watching, not at all, and the powerlessness of not being able to open any kind of trap door or provide any kind of resting cushion for even a short while is uncomfortable.  I don't like watching the unstoppability of it, never knowing if it's an up or a down they will hit next and not able to just grab their shoulders, look into their eyes and try to make the dizziness and disorientation go away.

I'm not sure I could live like that, but I do wonder if from the outside, people believe that I do?

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Not meant.

It wasn't meant to be like this.  I sometimes look at people around me and I want to shake my head sadly and say "sorry, it really wasn't meant to be like this, was it?".  It's a curious double standards thing because I wouldn't dream of thinking like that about me, or even saying it to me as some kind of comfort.  It's not very comforting is it?  Doesn't change a thing, doesn't make events which have happened unhappen, and doesn't make them any better.  Doesn't offer a reason, an explanation or anything.  Maybe it's just one of those things that people say?  Or do they.  Do people say "it wasn't meant to be like this". I know people say "everything happens for a reason", and I think that's bollocks too.

It wasn't meant to be like this acknowledges that the fairy tale you built about how life would be has not come true.  It doesn't mean that there was ever a plan created by you or for you or involving a man in the clouds.  The man in the clouds, I suspect, if such a thing existed would have to take full responsibility for the fact that actually, it was meant to be like this.  That's destiny, everything is pre ordained.

Is the inability to say "it wasn't meant to be like this" an admission that there is something pre ordained and it all went rather horribly wrong?  Or in fact, is it a load of tripe because what's meant to be will be, what has happened has, and we break into song with whatever will be will be?

Monday, 29 February 2016

Shutting down

I've been trying hard to shut down.  Not pause, not fast forward, not rewind.  Great terminology which has been given to us by technology.   The latter all remind me of a good old fashioned tape deck, although no doubt they go back further than that, to times before such things were available to anyone who cared to enter Woolworths and shell out.  Shut down, though, belongs to the world of computers.  And frustratingly, when I try, sometimes the screen just hangs, and there I am, in limbo, in a world where the bit of me that's supposedly switched on just isn't functional.

Or maybe it's more like trying to quit reluctant applications. I'd like one or two of them just to go away, temporarily, for here and now, but they sit there like sulking toads, hogging their lily leaves and refusing to duck under water or scurry off into the undergrowth.  Sometimes I swear they poke long curly tongues out at me.

And I'm on holiday, and I can't entirely remember which applications I am trying to force close.  Alt Control Delete.  And also, somehow I can't stop.  There are a lot of hours I can't bear to see empty because that might open up an application I'm somehow not quite ready for.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

If I ...

If I turn into that person, that shambling undignified wreck who doesn't love living, who is an embarrassment to myself and my relatives.  If I smell of wee, an I drool and there's no joy to be had from anything.  If I'm reduced to feeding from a tube, cannot walk without help, but importantly, if in all this I lose my faculties, my ability to make decisions or to communicate my needs then don't just let me go, please push me.  Push me down the stairs, or give me leave to find my own route of departure head first down a flight.  Don't let me live like this.

But that's not how it works.  Someone may deteriorate, their quality of life may become eroded, their bodily functions carried out by someone else without their say so, wee in a tube, poo hand balled out, but still, we say, they are themselves, they laugh and talk and react and love, still love coherently and truly, and no, we can't push them downstairs.  It's not how it works.

It's a killer.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Much family

Hmm, what was it I forgot, oh yes, to have kids.

This came up on my Facebook recently, someone who sadly has recently found that something which was / is dear to them, having children, wasn't going to be possible.  This isn't really me dwelling on a subject which is, actually, a non issue for me.

I mean that, really.

I have such a sense of "complete" that thoughts of family in that sense very rarely even skitter past like a leaf past the window.  It's probably because I see family in many of my contacts.  My maternal instinct goes into overdrive when I see people in my life struggling, I feel it for the younger bike riders at work, some of the more feckless older ones too.  I have a sense of family with friends who I love with a passion.  My family is way wider than flesh and blood.  There are people in my life who I'd walk through fire for, and who I know will always be there, in one guise or another, ebbing and flowing as friendships do, but will always be my family and there at the end of a phone.

Don't get me wrong, I feel something when I see what friends are up to with their children, but it's that feeling of pride and satisfaction and enjoyment in seeing their happiness.  It's not in any sense envy.  I don't want their children. I don't really want any children.

My friends, I think, view my life similarly.  They don't want my life, but they like seeing me do the things which perhaps they once did or plan to do in the future.  We're just at different places in the pathway at the moment.  There are so many things I've done, and will continue to do that are barely imaginable in a life with children.  How could I have nipped off to New Zealand for six weeks with a back pack, how could I have climbed the mountains I have, taken a camper van out to Europe for weeks on end, done all the cycling and the walking and the visiting places, the being with people, the festivals, the more kind of <out there> living with children in tow.  How would I be holding down a job which seems to be way more than full time, and working in such an amazing place, involved with amazing people, and at the same time living in the beautiful Peak District with an extraordinary man, and at the same time getting stuck in to an Open University degree.  My life is rich, just rich in a different way.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Nearly 50

Gosh, I forgot to procreate.

This morning, a picture appeared on my Facebook feed - my friends, Nicola and Scott and their wee one, aged a few months old (the joy of being a non parent is people don't expect you to be precise about the ages of their off spring).  Her on her back, legs and arms in classic baby posture, smiling.  You can almost hear her gurgling from the picture - she's got an arm up to pull daddy's hair and he's laughing too.  And this kind of thing is bloody lovely and completely and utterly precious to me.  I'm grateful and humbled, and joyful all at the same time that I get to share in my friends' families, even though, sometimes they are a little alien to me.

I love seeing Liz & Ian's two girls, being brought up, it would seem without a clue about gender stereotypes.  They aren't so much tom boys as just their own person.  Being loved for being who they are, and being allowed to be that person.  Somehow the parenting has also managed to prevent these two little darlings from anything approaching rudeness or violence, without stifling their tiny little person abilities to have a true personality, unfettered by what society might expect.  Love watching these two get older.

I love seeing the photos of my Scottish friends twin boys.  They are always doing something together, the family and the kids - there are bikes, snowy hills, skis, and lots of pictures of rosy smiling cheeks.

I love that the daughter of one of my old work colleagues allows me in on her Facebook too.  She's, I guess 22 now, but I've known her since she was 7.  I share a kind of odd pride in this fabulous young woman with her mum.  I know much about the difficult times, and I'm so bloody impressed at how she bounces back, and gets through with dignity.  I know some heart aches, and can't help but want nothing but the best for her.

Then there are the special children - for some are indeed more special than others.  I have a nephew by blood, a nephew by marriage and a godson by proxy.  These are family.  My fabulous nephew, known from his birth, now coming up for 20.  I like to think I've played a part in what he's become and I love his odd 20 going on 40, forthright, determined eccentricity with a passion.  I'm so appreciative that he still wants me in his life.  He's been going on 40 since he was two years old.  My teeny little nephew, the darling little six year old, beloved by both his separated parents, and loved immensely by all his connected family.  He's my mum's only grandson, and yes, we cherish him.  I just hope he can one day lose the worried expression he's worn since birth!  And of course my godson aged 12.  Let's gloss over the fact that for maybe three years I referred to him as the Devil Child.  He went through a difficult stage.  I am hopeful that he'll stay in my life as he gets older too.

Life is richer for the people in it, and for the children, but my life is not poorer for having none of my own, and I'm not protesting too much here, genuinely I don't feel the loss, like I don't feel the lack of a Maserati.