28 Oct 2008

Post 81: My 1st weekend away

Just once it would be nice to be able to start off a post without having to apologise for not having written one for ages, my aim is to write one a week, usually at weekends to give people who read this something new to read on Monday morning when as I recall people are desperately trying to look busy while staring at their computer screens.
The reason I didn't manage it this week was I wasn't actually here this weekend. A lot has happened which I feel is worth talking about which makes a welcome change from the usual stygian content!
Firstly, some old college friends of mine bravely at their instigation took me down to Sandwich in Kentlur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href[], these protagonists were my best mate Tony[], whose skills of organization/coordination have made my time since my stroke a great deal easier, our mildly eccentric 'best anecdote teller in the world ever' theologian turned chaplain of charterhouse school, the reverend Richard Lloyd[] and Vicky and PJ Denning
[], whose marriage Richard had presided over in July 2004..Vicky is a great friend and has been like a sister to me since we met. She has always been a great source of support to me and I hope I have been to her. Everyone was thrilled when her and PJ got together because she had gone out with some real bastards (something she'll agree with me about). Funny story about PJ – his dad was the professor of organic chemistry at Magdalen College, Oxford when I applied for chemistry there back in 1994 and he actually interviewed me. He unsurprisingly declined to offer me a place and passed me on to a much lesser college with what turned out to be much greater people. Prof Denning had made the right choice, a year later I had ruthlessly changed subject to PPE having rowed and drunk my way to a preliminary exam failure in chemistry. Stranger still I think PJ was also my first year lab partner, so them ending up married is a fantastic coincidence. Everyone did a great job of looking after me with special credit going to Vicky considering she is six months pregneant. Usually when we're all down in Sandwich we all play golf as Richard's parents holiday house that we stay at is called the 'fifth tee'. Seeing as I am probably unable to play golf ever again the main agenda item for me was to try not to get too cold or tired and enjoy my friends company and look forward to the dietbusting Royal St Georges golf club roast lunch. Quite by chance a local girl called Linda had mailed me a few weeks ago because she had read on my facebook profile that I was a young stroke survivor,she herself was a young stroke survivor too and figured we might have some common ground. Seeing as I was in the area it made sense to meet up.Eventually we settled on meeting in the 'mixed bar' at Royal St. Georges after we decided that my wheelchair was too wide for the doorframes in her house! She had her stroke ten years ago and (giving hope to me) is so well recovered she doesn't even look like she ever had a stroke. She was so lovely and understanding and was such good company that we asked her to stay for lunch. I must say that without exception meeting other stroke survivors has been very useful. They have all given me hope. Linda was no exception. I had been pretty terrified about this trip before it, I am pretty scared of venturing out of my comfort zone, It's one thing to do at work, completely another to test ones physical and mental boundaries as if starting from scratch. At least in my own home I have my own routines, I know where rails are for me to transfer, I know how to transfer, I know which doors are wide enough, I know I can fit in the toilet, I know how to use the toilet, I know how to attract attention/ask for help if I need to. Linda also explained to me one of the many reasons I probably get so tired. 'it's like all your inateness is gone and to do the simplest of things needs you to concentrate so hard, it's tense and exhausting', so for me it means exhaustion. For her, Migraines. I don't know what to say. So the weekend went much better than expected but I got back home to some dreadful news.
On Monday morning Caroline (one of my housemates who I have become rather reliant on for my care – it helps that she used to be a qualified nurse in South Africa) was leaving (for good) that evening. She told me matter of factly that she had seen a cheap direct flight to Durban and had bought it, ostensibly to go and be with her new husband and family. Apparently since their wedding a couple of months ago in South Africa he has (understandably) been on the phone 'whining like a two-stroke engine' about her not being at home. I can understand this but am a bit befuddled by the suddenness of her departure which has deprived me of my best carer, I now have a room to fill and a whole lot of uncertainty to deal with, I remember how awful/awkward it was first time around, and I am left with the awful insecurity that she left in a hurry because she couldn't bear to be in my presence a second longer despite her words to the contrary.The only good news which makes up for this disaster is that my visit from Lucy has turned up just the counsellor I needed, Lucy's flatmate Vicki. Since being out of hospital, I have been looking for someone to talk too regularly to help me emotionally get through what has happened. I wish I could hand on heart say I was strong enough but I'm not. Friends have been a great source of support but friends have got their own lives and problems and cannot consistently be here every week. Vicki has kindly said that she can and the real bonus is she's incredibly easy on the eyes[] (always a major consideration), she's energetic,positive, bubbly, has a psychology background, She's perfect, for once since this stroke, I actually feel lucky.

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