Category Archives: Daily Life

A Bit Twisted …

iceI never use normally use the word ‘twisted’, but this is two blog posts in a row now.

From ‘twisty-turny path’ of my last one to a real, live twist in this one.

Am I actually clairvoyant?

I twisted my knee yesterday.

Of all the things to do and in such a random way. I don’t know about you guys but sometimes messages take a little longer to get from my brain to the correct bits of my body. So, I’m standing there, in work, knowing I want to turn. Most of my body does, except my lower legs and feet.

Snap. Pop. Twang. Something went in the back of my knee. It hurt, and then it didn’t, so I carried on.

A couple of hours later, I was in agony. All evening I slapped bags of frozen parsnips on it (I hate parsnips, no idea why I bought them) and elevated it. Painful doesn’t begin to describe it. As it was a Saturday night, there was no point going to A&E, so I took some Nurofen, watched ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ and shuffled slowly to bed.

This morning, I got up early and took myself off to the emergency department. Or rather, I limped. The pain was excruciating and triggered every nerve cell which is normally kept at bay by the neuropathic pain meds I take. I was a bit of a fizzing mess.

After triage, an x-ray and a consultation, I was told to rest, but keep moving. Move, but rest. And then prescribed the strongest painkillers they were allowed to and given a leaflet about knee injuries.

I felt like being brave so I went to work (I know, right?), where I took the first painkillers. The Boss had made coffee, so it was worth turning up just for that. Anyway, within half an hour, I was pain-free and ever so slightly out of it. Perhaps I shouldn’t have gone to work, but the thought of being laid-up at home reminded me too much of a relapse.

I got home, discovered the cat had left a poo on one of my rugs, realised I was out of milk and began to feel sorry for myself. Time for some more painkillers. And maybe a different kind of ice …

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Big Expectations

fatWell, that’s several hours of my life I’ll never get back.

I wanted to buy a plain navy blue t-shirt.

And that’s it.

Not much to ask?

I’ll admit, I’m big, although not excessively over the UK average.

Yet searching online I seemed to fall down a rabbit-hole of ghastliness.

I won’t bore you with the details of my ever-frantic searches, but suffice to say, if you’re a big gal, you bound to wear clothes with:

  • Ruffles
  • Huge dropped hems at the back
  • Sequins and cheap beads
  • Ridiculous slogans (no, I don’t ‘Blame It On The Prosecco’)
  • Garish patterns, swirls and side-ties (why?)
  • Lazy tailoring and all-round general baggy fits, i.e. sacks.
  • Lace. Lots and lots of lace.

Even at the higher end price range, the choice was dismal. Nothing was understated and elegant, or just … basic but well made.

In my job as a building project manager, I only spend one or two days a week in ‘normal’ clothes. More often than not I’m in steel-capped boots, cargo trousers and a hoodie. Hair pulled back in a ponytail and some lip balm for the chilly mornings. My other outfit is jim-jams as soon as I get home and fall asleep on the sofa.

So when I wear ‘normal’ clothes, it would be nice to wear something smart but casual. Well-made, classic. I’ve never been known for my fashion sense and never well be, but it’s refreshing to emerge from a cocoon of dust and mud with clean hair and no black bits in my ears.

Back to my tale of woe – a navy blue t-shirt. I dismissed the one with the sequinned pocket and dropped hem. The baggy one. The one with lace inserts. The one slashed in odd places. The one exposing bare shoulders.

Instead, I dug out my huge pile of ‘too fat to fit now, could possibly fit in the future’ clothes from my cupboard. And there, right in the middle, was a lovely t-shirt. Ok, so it has a scattering of tiny beads, but they’re so small I might snip them off.

If I breathe in, it fits perfectly.

I might not be able to talk much, but it makes a change from my hoodie?

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The Ugly Spectre Of MS

noThe Teenager collapsed last week.

As with most teenagers, he had his phone glued to his hand at the time and managed to text me in work:

‘can’t get off the floor, come and help me. I’m scared’.

I couldn’t get there straight away so sent others, who managed to pick him up off the floor.

By the time I arrived home, he was marooned in his bed, in pain and confused.

I took him to the GP and the chiropractor.

The evening before, we had been in A&E with extreme nerve pain. And were referred back to his GP.

Some tests were run.

He has been referred to a neurologist.

He mentioned a few symptoms that made my blood run cold.

He has been working out at the gym. That will be it?

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Kicked The Basket, Stayed Calm …

don't take me homeI worked the whole bank holiday.

I didn’t mind too much; I’d had to stay at home during the height of the sudden heatwave and had ploughed my way through numerous box-sets on telly, fanning myself with one of The Teenager’s discarded school files.

I was hot, bored and bothered. MS heat intolerance is miserable.

Friday was The Teenager’s last official day at school. Ever. I unpinned his timetable from the notice board in the kitchen with a deep, sad sigh. I woke him up for school for the last time, waved him off to his last ever school assembly, with his last ever lunch money in his pocket. He popped back briefly a couple of hours later and I daubed his face with camouflage make-up, hung dog tags around his neck and waved him off again.

He was taking part in the Sixth Form Leaver’s tradition – a pub crawl around the local area, ending up in the city centre. This year’s theme was ‘military’ (last year’s was ‘American Football’). There’s a long road between pubs outside my house and every year I see the endless line of kids walking past, chanting loudly. Perhaps with Manchester in mind, watching the procession of students walk past dressed in various forms of khaki, singing ‘Don’t Take Me Home‘ made me cry.

That was 2pm. I heard him come back home at 3am, rise again at 5am and leave to get the train/bus/tram to Manchester to watch one of his favourite bands at Old Trafford. Plus, he’d remembered to lock the door and let the cat out. Impressive.

Anyway, on my way to work this morning I stopped off at a local shop to pick up some lunch. I was wandering around the aisles, debating microwave lasagna vs. chicken pieces when, wham, I went flying. Foot drop? Nope. Someone had left an empty basket in the aisle, one of those wire ones, so not readily visible. I picked myself up, a little bruised and embarrassed. I heard laughter. I turned round and the woman at the counter was looking at me and … laughing.

Not asking if I was ok, not coming over to help. She stayed behind the counter. Laughing. I kicked the basket. It knocked into a display of sun-cream (Are You Protected?) which wobbled a bit and a few bottles fell off. I kicked them too, the irony of sun cream too much to bear.

I picked up some chicken pieces and went to the counter. She was still laughing. I asked if she was serious. She said, ‘You wha’?’, raised an eyebrow, finished checking her phone and rang through my items with a studious boredom that was actually pretty impressive.

I got to my car. Took several deep breaths. I should have gone back. I could have kicked myself along with the sun-cream.

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If You Can’t See It …

invisibleOne point amongst many brought up during the Taxi Driver Case, is that invisible illnesses can be tricky.

That’s not to say a more visible form of MS than mine is any easier – far from it according to the large amount of emails I’ve received, in which people have told me taxis simply drive past them when they see a wheelchair or walking sticks.

It just seems harder to ‘prove’ you have a disability if, at first glance, there’s nothing ‘wrong’ with you. However, some place the number of people with chronic conditions which could be deemed invisible as high as 96%. Whether or not that is true, it is indicative that there is more understanding needed.

This can take a tragic turn, as in the case of Brian Holmes, who was killed with a single punch in 2013 after another man took exception to him looking ‘like he could walk’ when parked in a disabled space at a supermarket. Little did he know, he was the driver for his wife – who was disabled, and had a blue badge – and who was shopping at the time. What he also didn’t know was that Brian was days away from an all-clear from cancer.

Cases like this show just how difficult it can be to judge who is disabled or not. On the flip side, I live near a busy shopping area; on weekdays, parents park in disabled spaces as they are one or two metres closer to the school than the plentiful other spaces, and ‘what’s the harm?’. On weekends, car after car parks in the supermarket disabled spaces, as they are ‘just popping in, what’s the problem?’ In the morning, builders vans park there, as ‘disabled people are lazy and don’t have to get up early like we do’.

These quotes are real; I’ve spoken to these people. They become aggressive, threatening and abusive. Such are the feelings disabled parking can arouse. Last year I called the school where the majority of parents took their children to. I spoke to the headmaster, who told me in no uncertain terms, ‘it’s not my problem’. I have also raised the point with my MP, who said he would look in to it.

Disabled parking spaces are there for more than convenience. If you are ill and finding it difficult to get out, it can be a smidgen of hope that after the palaver of getting ready to go out, you can just about be guaranteed to find a space. Granted, this is not always the case, but the hope is there. It’s psychological, apart from anything else health-wise.

It’s all too easy to languish at home, constricted by health, lack of parking and society’s attitude towards you.

You make people uncomfortable. And that’s all the more reason to be seen.

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