Tag Archives: friends

With A Little Help From My Friends …

trashNot only has this latest relapse rocked my working world, it’s made me appreciate the smaller things in life.

I’ve snaffled some cut-down branches from one job to make Easter branches and have rescued some spare wood from another, with a view, at some point, to crafting  hollowed-out candle-sized logs …

I was out at 6am this morning, hanging up washing. Relapse Tick.

I replied to some emails. Another Relapse Tick.

I made three coffees for myself. Relapse Tick again.

And that’s it.

This whole time, through this hideous relapse, I have been alone. And then it hit me. I no longer have friends who will just pop over. I’ve isolated every single one of them.

I scanned my contacts list. Some were in a relationship and had found their happy MS medium, and I am thrilled for them. Some had large families and a whole lot of support. Some were suspicious of a single MSer. And some had no idea I needed them.

Had I run out of MS favours? Am I now so used to surviving on my own that I have become the person I always feared I would be – the Single Female with a Cat?

In that way, I certainly do tick all the boxes. I talk to her (The Cat). I judge her moods and respond accordingly, which is rather sad.

But back to the bigger issue – I have a wide circle of fantastic friends whom I love and adore yet I miss having friends who are there, no matter what. I think I’m one of those. Most of my friends have had various crises over the years and I’m there as soon as they put the phone down. I do my utmost to be present, in whatever capacity they need me.

Last week was a shock. Have I got so used to solitude that this is now my New Normal?  Am I now condemned to talking to the laurel bush in my backyard?

I miss my friends, but more the point, I realise I have not been the best of friends.

Tagged , , ,

In My Friend, I Find A Second Self …

friendsTo  have friends is beautiful, magical and life-enhancing.

MS can obliterate that.

I lost a lot of my friends during my MS diagnosis, four years ago.

Whether they couldn’t cope with my new ‘diagnosis-status’, my angst, my late-night texts/phone-calls, I’m not sure. Probably a combination.

My best friend once took a ladder and crawled up the outside of my house and into my bedroom to check I was still breathing, as I lay over-emotional with red wine in my bed. To be fair, I would have done the same for him.  And I have done.

He was the one I called on the day of my diagnosis and we spent the evening lamenting and crying (mostly me) in a cosy gastro-pub. But also building plans for my future. Little did I know that in five months time, I would be unceremoniously sacked from my job. The reason?

MS.

I won the case, but lost immeasurable time with my son due to all the poisonous letters via the lawyer; time I will  never get back, so I used the paltry payout to take us to New York for five days, as a thank-you to The Teenager for all he had to put up with.

And now, now I am ‘living/thriving/succeeding with MS’, where are those friends now?

Luckily, I still have a close circle. I think.

Some have sloughed off along the way, and that’s to be expected. Do I demand more than I can deliver? Perhaps. How many times can I ask for a friend to visit me whilst I am ‘en sofa’?

It’s that boring, I bore myself, honestly.

Twice I’ve asked a dear friend to let me know dates he’s free for a get-together at mine and twice he’s brushed me off. Is my house so dusty? Pesky 300-year old cottages. Or is it deeper than that? Am I … embarrassing?

Twice I’ve asked the friend I’ve known since our kids ran out the classrooms clutching pumpkin masks. Pop in for coffee?

Nada.

I can only presume, on the balance of ‘worth a friend/not worth a friend’, I’ve lost.

I miss those friends.

I’ve had to take six days off work with a dreadful cold/almost-flu-but-not-quite, which weirdly coincided with The Teenager being away on a school trip. And really, it was all for the best. I schlepped around, lay on the sofa, felt sorry for myself and argued with the cat.

But I sure missed my friends …

Tagged , ,

Stumbling Back to Happiness

If you stumbleAfter almost three years of MS-and-self-imposed exile, I am slowly but surely reintroducing myself to polite society.

My cunning strategies seem to be working. Often it’s the small(ish) things.

Such as, I hate the heat and it hates me back with a blazing passion.

Now though, rather than worrying about my tomato face, I plan a set time outside, give myself one last blast of the air-con and pop on the sunglasses.

I can often be found lingering at the chest freezers in Iceland and worry they’ll ban me soon as I only ever buy eggs.

Who cares if I’m bright red? I’m out, it’s enough. And when my legs start to buckle I know it’s time to grab a Slush Puppie and head back to the car, mission accomplished. When I’m in work, the boss agrees to go easy on me as long as he can still laugh when I stumble. Who cares? We’re good friends going back years and I don’t want anyone to tip-toe around me (wish I could do that without losing my balance and falling over – sigh).

As regular readers are aware, I’ve also signed up with a personal trainer. Who’d have thought it even a few months ago? My Nike joggy bottoms didn’t arrive in time for my first session, but who cared that I turned up in jeans and an Andy Warhol t-shirt? Certainly not the trainer who still made me learn how to execute a perfect squat, which was surprisingly difficult. Ceiling to floor length mirrors didn’t make the job any easier. But I did it. And I’m going back next week.

Only problem is, I got a little bit carried away afterwards. The Teenager came home from school to find me saying, ‘hey, look, look at this! (squat) look what I can do! (squat)’ Naturally he was less than impressed and retreated backwards to his bedroom, on his phone, no doubt tweeting my sorry plight to his mates. I paid for it the next day though, barely being able to walk down the stairs. Pesky muscles screaming in shock at being used for the first time in years.

Anyway, I finally knew that I was officially ‘back’ on Saturday. I’d arranged to meet a good friend for dinner, meeting first at his place. Great. Did my hair, got dressed, fed the cat and left. I knocked on his door:

Him: Huh?

Me: Dinner? Arranged the other day? My kid’s away, your kids are away?

Him: (spluttering and looking back longingly at his Lord of The Rings dvd on pause) But, honestly, I really didn’t think you’d turn up. You’re always so tired. Was expecting a text from you to say you couldn’t come. As usual. You okay?

Me: I’m good. I’m great! I’ll wait, you get ready. Got any chocolate in the fridge?

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Named and Shamed…

named and shamedIt’s been a difficult ten days, coming to terms with these sporadic black episodes encroaching on my life.

Not only that, there are also other complicated things going on (same for all of us?).

Luckily, a few days ago, the clouds disappeared and Technicolor seeped back into my life once more. What could possibly go wrong?

This evening I had a tweet, directed at me. It mentioned me by my Twitter handle and read, ‘Know who your friends are….were  #hurt #hatefully #movingon’. I won’t name the person (I’m not that low), but they have almost a thousand followers. So my ‘name’ and ‘crime’ has now been transmitted to them too. Nice.

Believe me, there are two sides to every story and most certainly in this one. I only write about this as it was the last thing I needed today. What does, ‘Know who your friends are’ mean? Vaguely threatening/chastising.

There’s ways and means of raising grievances. A couple of weeks ago I vented about a friend who let me down, but I ranted without mentioning the person’s name. Instead, we exchanged private messages. The problem still isn’t resolved and probably never will be, but at least we were fairly dignified.

‘An Inspector Calls’ was a book I read in school and have never forgotten. If you haven’t read it, it essentially sums up that just a ‘tiny’ thing amongst many others can drive someone to the brink. The straw that breaks the camel’s back. I’m not saying that’s the same here, but the kernel remains the same.

I didn’t need to have this tonight. Maybe that’s what they wanted. If so, and I know they follow my blog, hey, well done.

On a lighter note, as, after all, my blog is about showing the more humorous side to MS, here are today’s stats:

  • Tripped over in work – 6 times
  • Number of times told off by boss – over 20
  • Body-swerves around bannister – 3
  • Slips in shower – 2
  • Slices of toast and Nutella The Teenager has eaten – 4
  • Substitutions in Ocado order – none! Yay!

I am off to volunteer at a Newly-Diagnosed Day tomorrow. I was that person two years ago, so hopefully I can impart some wisdom….

Tagged , ,

Don’t Call Me, I’ll Call You…

Best FriendsI really have messed up.

I called a couple of friends over the last few days and without fail, they’ve said to me, ‘must dash!’.

I don’t blame them. I’m a terrible, awful friend.

I have been selfish, self-occupied and…..boring. I bore myself. So what hope do my friends have?

I love my friends but possibly I have called upon one too many favours. And what do they have in return? Nothing but a whingeing, boring peep, with MS her only conversation.

It wasn’t meant to be like this. I was supposed to be the living embodiment of ‘living well despite MS.’ So what happened?

Who knows. I think I am still the engaged, interested person I always was, but recent experience has shown me I really am not. Am I so used to MS now, it has become second nature? Is it me? Am I MS?

A depressing thought. But I guess not entirely surprising. I try to imagine myself if the roles were reversed. Could I be that patient, that understanding? For almost two years?

I love my friends. The thought of losing them is too terrible to bear. I have already lost so many since The Diagnosis.

I realised recently that I’m never invited out for lunch or coffee. Or, heaven forbid, a night out. I must have turned down so many invitations I’ve lost count. Friends have given up. ‘Nah, don’t bother asking Stumbling, she’ll only say no……’

I find myself in the position of calling friends and (begging just a little), ‘um. yeah, hi! Fancy getting together? Yeah, me! Um, ok, no worries……catch up soon, yeah (please)?’

Hmmm. My friends have been superstars. It’s me who is at fault. I. Am. Boring.

This is why I plan to take up the saxaphone this year. And why I have joined a friend’s book club (forget the first planned meeting, a disaster thanks to The Teenager).

To all the friends who have stuck by me, thank you.

x

Tagged , , , ,