Posts

Showing posts from 2018

A year of paradox

Image
It’s Christmas Eve I sit up from bed I start to walk I remember I drag my leg Painful Slow Unsteady  I start my day This is the year of paradox The year that pain decided my future was risky That surgery And it’s long slow recovery shaped each day The year that family  gathered and made a cocoon of love The year I was disabled by the world around me A city of steps and buses beyond my reach  Of searching for dropped pavements  for ramps for everyday normality The year our family grew with a joy-filled arrival our grandson  Who knew how babies transform who restore a future to hold on to however painfully Even this year  holds another chapter of the unpredictable that has yet again  shifted my fragile compass  But now it’s Christmas and that chapter waits while we gather and savour the life we have

Freedom! Blue badge blues 14

Image
Born to be wild?  Freedom!  I spend an inordinately large amount of time trying to work out how to increase my independence. Now it’s personal not national I’m talking about here. ( Although after this week in “Brexshitland” who could blame me...but that’s a whole other blog). Back to my independence...I have shoe horns and grabbers up and down stairs now. I have walkers upstairs and downstairs too. I have a walking stick up on each level. I have a device to put my socks on even. With a shoe horn I can manage one pair of boots but not the others. I’m currently researching more ankle boots I might try and negotiating with Santa given the expense! I have my much loved mobility scooter which if set up for me, gives me an exhilarating freedom to travel around this part of Edinburgh. I can reach my new Open Book group in the Botanics on my own which has been a much valued addition to my life. My current challenge as winter arrives is however is keeping warm. I may need to

The watcher from the chair Blue badge blues 13

Image
I yearn to stand and coorie him kiss his milk full cheek smell his untarnished skin feel when I held his father too I yearn to stand and comfort him to sleep and sing the songs that Grannies have aye sung the stories of our past Yet gratitude fills my heart when we celebrate our precious boy and experience the joy he brings us all And in a deep corner of my heart I’m sad that I need to sit the watcher from the chair trying to hide her grief

It’s me or the cat; Blue badge blues 12

Image
Made to measure for Koshka  So Koshka had the walk of shame at the vet ( again) and he’s back on a diet. Help!" You know how it goes; he eats cos he's fat. he's fat cos he eats.. ." Our day starts around 4am when Cara the dog decides she needs to go out ( and then follow us up to bed!) Cue Koshka to pronounce his hunger and so it starts.... Feed me! My friend was staying to support me recently and as she said when she too was caught; " he got me when I was vulnerable in the middle of the night!" By morning I don’t even remember what I gave him. When our feet touch the ground in the morning he springs to his bowl from anywhere and we eak out the first of the two pouches he’s allowed. I’m so relieved when it’s lunch time and I can give him some dried biscuits ( measured out carefully now).  A previous vet said if he goes out there is no point restricting his food as he will find it elsewhere. He’s out just now, maybe I should warn the m

To see ourselves as ithers see us: Blue badge Blues 11

Image
This week we have been watching The Crown...Yes I know!  I’m no royalist and probab ly a republican at heart but we had a few recommendations of it as interesting drama. It’s only one perspective of course and they skip over theories that the abdicating king was also a risk because of his fascist friends for example- but its interesting. The last one I watched was when Winston Churchill retired and he saw his portrait that had been commissioned. An honest portrayal of his frailty was too much for him. In that moment I saw myself as well. A mirror of my own shock at my frailty. I seem to possess an ability to lock some of that reaction in a cupboard, only to be taken out on safe occasions. I keep going, taking comfort in minor achievements. I love getting out in my mobility scooter, even when I get wet! I smile at everyone who catches my eye and get warm responses. It’s a joy. I have created a safe environment at home where I’m resonably ok, apart from trying to do things in the ki

Ye cannae shove this Grannie; Blue Badge Blues 10

Image
Welcoming Davie  The first time I understood how important it was to me to have grandchildren was when I was first diagnosed with cancer. I lay awake at night thinking how long do I need to be here for? Initially it’s at least see both the children safely on to secondary school. Then it was leaving school. Then maybe graduation or meeting their life partner. It was always long enough to ensure their wellbeing and that they knew how much I loved them. And I gave myself that goal, whatever I needed to do to secure that I would. But the trade off ( in my strangely distorted thinking process) was that I would need to accept I would never be here long enough to be a Grannie. So many people are robbed of parenthood by cancer, at least I was more fortunate than that. And as I celebrated each decade thereafter, I felt such gratitude for my survival. At 40 I completed a Masters and had a party for all those who had supported us through such hard times. At 50 I decided to grow my hair aga

When truth hurts: Blue badge blues 9

Image
I feel about my outside walker or rollator, as us in the know call them, as I did about the leaflets i was given when I had breast cancer in my thirties. They had older women with grey hair on the front of them. The nurse touched my hand as she gave them to me and I wanted to slap her face with them. I then spent several hours speculating on how I could shred them and post them out the slatted windows at the top in my room in the hospital. It was on the tenth floor, no one would ever know. In the end I didn’t, mostly because I couldn’t reach!  Back to the walker.....it’s clumsy, heavy and brown. And I hate it. For many reasons. I hate it because I can’t walk any distance anyway and it reminds me of that. I hate it because I need help to even get it out. I hate it because it’s ugly and my heart sinks as I approach it. I hate it because I feel disabled by it. I hate it because it reminds me of how I really am, not the version in my head still. And being honest, i hate it because it fe

Coming out of the shadows

Image
Coming out of the shadows; Blue Badge Blues 8 Edinburgh Festival Fireworks It’s August, it’s Edinburgh, it’s mayhem, it’s the festival. I decided years ago as a resident in Edinburgh that it’s important to embrace it, bring out your inner tourist and have a bit of fun. The other option is to moan about the crowds, the buses, roads being closed and so on and that’s not appealing. But this year I’m only two plus months post op, i can’t walk more than two steps and it’s beyond overwhelming. I’ve been to two shows and to say I’m exhausted is to underestimate the impact. I’m currently thinking I may never try to go to an event ever again. I’ve had to make several phone calls in advance to check accessibility and how to ensure that I can get there with my families support. The planning, the exhaustion and discomfort of the trip, worrying about parking, lifting mobility scooters, gaining access and then just enjoy the show! My abortive efforts to regain independence are probably m

Friendship and flowers; blue badge blues 7

Image
Friendship and flowers I’m more than six weeks post-op now and I’ve taken down my cards; having read them again. Thoughtful words on a card are so uplifting, please don’t ever think they won’t make a difference. It was with some sadness I was throwing out the dying flowers but then as if by some hidden force over the next couple of days flowers kept arriving; from visitors and even in the post.My house is beautifully enhanced by this array of colour and even more, my heart is full with the kindness and love they convey. I don’t have words to say how much it lifts my world which is quite small just now-being largely confined to home.  But that said it’s been a sad week. A friend died of cancer, very quickly, having been told of the recurrence just over a month previously. Amazingly she visited me in hospital before she was admitted to the hospice and I’m hugely grateful I saw her then. I’ve reflected a great deal on friendship these last few weeks. Anne and I bonded over dogs a

Reflections on care: Blue badge blues 6

Image
Blue badge blues 6 So I’ve been home for almost two weeks, phew. I’m gently easing off the burden of a long hospital stay but it’s taking time and energy. Gradually I’m building confidence in my mobility and my pain is reducing, although it’s not a linear process; particularly with a broken leg!  I have to be careful not to decline with a bad day and not to over do things on a good day. «  It’s going to take time  » is the mantra from all of the professionals who are supporting me. I find that phrase a serious challenge! There have been moments of hilarity too like when I couldn’t find the knickers i had taken off, then spotted them attached to the velcro on the moonboot! Not the look i was going for!   I’m setting myself goals as encouraged by the OT and physio and thats helping me recognise progress, however slow. The community team have been impressive so far with aids delivered quickly and I do have a sense of them working together to support me. They encourage mindfulne

Blue badge blues poem

Hospital confidential  A confident stride the prelude to  tugged curtains a breathless introduction Conversations ensue maybe the most painful of our lives behind paper screens We don’t hear all the words but certainly get the tone the grimness in the phrases the timescales dodged Biopsies, scans lives changed behind those paper defined boundaries between your life and theirs iPads and magazines are stared at in desperate attempts to divert attention from this stranger  This stranger who’s life has just collided with ours as I sit uninvited  a mere bystander in their unfolding disaster Curtains pulled back Words digested Heads come up Sad smiles make contact Another hospital confidential story unfolds  and for that moment we are one in these four beds All our stories are shared our tears witnessed our pain cursed our lonely fears observed As I gather up for home these women’s stories will