29 Mar 2009

Post 117: Slow progress, hard times ahead but one or two encouraging signs

Another post so soon? I'm afraid so, like I said at the start of the last post, I feel trapped in the tedium of constant struggle. To try and break this tedium I have decided with Harrys Help(my counselor who I go and chat too every couple of weeks) I have decided to do a creative writing course because one of my goals is to write a book or get some sort of working from home journalism job by the end of next year. People have told me that this blog shows I can write but I need some help to go beyond this. At the moment this is all very autobiographical but I lack the creative impetus needed to write a book. My physical recovery will always remain the priority. This is why finding Ian has been so important. Credit for finding him must go to Natasha who I have probably been too hard on. Fine, she might of emotionally destroyed me but she has done nothing wrong, I have no right to have a go at her, as much as the situation causes me so much pain, I wish her every happiness with her new man, and hope their forthcoming marriage goes well, I hope this draws a line under things and allows us all to get on with our lives, sure I am upset, it seems that my stroke has exposed an underlying emotional frailty I never knew I had. This weakness is often as bad as my earth shattering fatigue. I'm still waiting for the bloody results from that sleep centre! Yet more frustration I could do without. Everything about this whole damn stroke seems to be about waiting, I used to be apathetic about waiting because I reasoned that getting annoyed about waiting just makes things worse and we'll get there in the end. The trouble is with this there's no end in sight because medical science can't or won't tell you what the end point might look like or when the end point will be. Meeting other stroke survivors has helped but as the 'experts' have been quick to point out is that every stroke is different so meeting any stroke survivor has to be taken with a hill of salt because their ability/recovery is precisely to do with the nature of their brain injury. In other words the 'experts' know nothing, an opinion I formed quite early on and hasn't really endeared me to some of the 'experts I've encountered along the way. No-one likes to be told they know nothing about the thing they're supposed to be an expert at,especially by someone like me, who makes no secret of knowing nothing and having a brain injury doesn't exactly help my gravitas! But What I have never understood is how therapists always focus on what they think you'll never be able to do again instead of what they think you'll be able to do. Imagine how devastated I was when the Transitional Living Unit (TLU) physiotherapist at Putney Hospital told me I'd never walk unaided or independently ever again. Being told that in late 2007 made me go into a depression and a defeatest attitude from which I have yet to emerge, silly cow, shame on her for saying that based on knowing nothing. What's worse is her 'expert opinion' went into my discharge report and has shaped the way NHS physios have dealt with me ever since. If it wasn't because of my slender resources and my friends at the Dom Pardey Trust raising money for me I wouldn't have got any walking practice. As far as the NHS are concerned as long as you can move around your home (in a wheelchair in my case ) and they've worked out how you are to transfer on and off the loo then their job is done. It doesn't matter how many times I say my goal is to walk independently again it says in black and white in my discharge report that I'm never going to walk again so it's not worth their time,energy or risking injury themselves to try and do something that some faceless moron has said isn't worth doing. This is a disgrace- it is just wrong, they should have realised what the negative impact could have been. It has been through mine and my parents sheer bloody mindedness that I've managed to get a handful of walking practice sessions with the NHS physios and what has incensed me further is the way they continue to bleat about the risk they're now having to take. I'm pretty tall and heavy but there are taller and heavier people than me. How on earth do these physios deal with them? Maybe they just give up on them without even meeting them. I don't even know why I bang on about this? It winds me up so much, it can't be good for my elevated blood pressure that caused this f*cking insult to my life in the first place. I need to concentrate my limited energy in myself and the people who are going to make a difference to my life over the coming months/years, people like my physio Ian who you'll get a view of once I work out how to post the latest video of me walking. I see Ian 4 times a week, 3 of those for walking practice in the village hall. Since Averil's death he has often phoned me up to check that I'm ok, he's even cooked me dinner once which saved my bacon when there was noone else around. More than a Therapist that puts me through torture 4 times a week. He is now a friend who has not once shown the slightest hesitation in the help he gives me despite me being considerably taller and heavier than he is (which the video shows – I look like some sort of freakish giant compared to him). It was his idea for me to practice walking just with resting my right arm on his shoulder. The NHS physio (a very little lady)could scarcely believe this so she was confident enough to let me walk with just her and a walking stick, something that she herself had said I'd never be able to do a few weeks ago! It's not just Ian who has been amazing. Since Natasha ceased to be my girlfriend over a year ago when I was still in hospital I feared that I'd never find another beautiful, caring girlfriend, quite the opposite, I met the incredible Asli (post 109) in January who is too lovely for words who I'd spend more time with if I could but she doesn't exactly live nearby. There's also the lovely and kind Allys (pronounced Elise) who Ian and I bumped into in the village hall when she was setting up the hall for her sons birthday. As she's local to me she pops in to make me the occasional cup of tea or bring me a meal, she also helps me do some left arm exercises that I just wouldn't bother with without her help. She'll kill me for using the picture off her justgiving page because she hates it but it'll have to do. She was already running the marathon (nutter! Sorry brave lady) but after meeting me she chose a charity connected with stroke. If you could find it in your hearts to visit her justgiving page, both of us would be grateful! There's also Sacha who lives in Cobham. We met through facebook, when she noticed I live down the road from her. She comes round and watches TV with me once a week. We're immersed in 'heroes' at the moment, which is brilliant. Last but not least is the lovely Vicki, a friend of a friend who comes to talk to me once a week. As a psychology graduate, apparently talking to me is good experience. She found Harry (the stroke survivor counsellor) for me and she's easy to talk to, she has been a revelation. Basically my point is I'm in as good position as someone in my terrible situation could be in, My friends from my old life remain supportive, My new friends are great, I have every confidence in the team of people I've cobbled together and I've far from given up! I suppose what I've got to look forward to over the next few weeks are seeing some, of my favourite comedians Mark Watson, Daniel Kitson, Andy Parsons and Simon the Hat (OK, so he's just a mate over from Australia!) but he's definitely the funniest!

28 Mar 2009

Post116: The Lovely Lily Allen in Concert and struggling to find a new Averil

Overcoming adversity is uplifting and inspiring whereas constant struggle is tedious. No prizes for guessing which camp I think I'm in. Life has got a lot tougher since Averil tragically passed away. I don't really feel any nearer to filling her shoes at the moment despite a few tentative nibbles on the Ads I've placed on various property websites and our old friend the gumtree, I hate to do this but this is the blurb I have written. If anyone feels strongly about it get in touch or better still if you're interested get in touch pronto. Sorting this out would be a massive weight off my mind:

'Sought: 1 housemate/housekeeper to live completely rent free (incl bills) alongside 31 year old wheelchair dependant male stroke survivor 'Dom', renting couple and one gorgeous cat 'Pickle'. Responsibilities would include doing Doms cleaning/laundry,cooking his evening meal, helping with his morning routine at weekends , he does not require 24h care therefore this is NOT a paid post or a residential caring job. Dom would expect respondents to have a day job in London/etc. Accommodation is well appointed, recently refurbished and fully furnished. Would suit responsible person of any age although around Doms age (30ish) would be preferable, better still with full UK driving licence. A vehicle is available. House is 3 to 4 bed semi in quiet cul de sac in leafy, desirable, Oxshott, Surrey. (Nr Epsom/Cobham/A3) and on a major train line. To find out more about Dom read his blog.
contact or 01372 844090 (H) or 07900 952846 (M). Find out more about Dom at, This position is off Steeles Lane, nr Arnewood Terrace, Oxshott'

Now the main reason for writing a post a day early apart from having nothing better to do was I went to a concert on Thursday evening and have a few thoughts.
Firstly as you can probably gather the concert was to see the delectable Lily Allen at the Shepherds Bush Empire. Now I must purport to being a trifle confused about midweek gigs in small venues. Here's my point: People go to listen to music to lose the plot and spend time with their mates in a slightly altered state, i.e. By drinking or consuming something bad for them OR because of the sheer spectacle of it (not myself, the concert). Music always sounds better with the volume turned up. Ok, I'll admit that's entirely my opinion. I'm no muso, I know what I like and what I hate and I'm not afraid to vocalise that opinion even if people I'm with are keeping resolutely silent, for example at the recent Keane concert in the Dome, I was the lone voice( (among the silence of 30,000 people) that booed and shouted (albeit with my pathetic post stroke disarthric voice for the support band to get off the stage because they were frankly terrible. I forget their name but they were an all girl Irish folk band. A strangled cat would have sounded better and then I realised that all support bands I had ever seen were dreadful, to try and make the main act sound better, it sounds obvious, but people still foolishly turn up to gigs before the headline act, and it makes me think about all the times I was booked as a warm up DJ! I wasn't that bad, was I? Sod it, it's all in the past now. I have gone off on one (again). . I still haven't worked out what midweek gigs in small venues are for, In the old days I would be far too risk averse to get drunk, stay up late and get a hangover on a schoolnight (something I have done with disastrous consequences before). There's little worse than reeking of booze and spending the whole day struggling to stay awake and struggling to say anything that makes sense to anyone, I remember (vaguely) one work offsite where me; three sheets to the wind - I had told the most senior lady how I thought she could do her job better. The next day I couldn't remember any of the specifics of what I had said when a particularly cruel senior colleague who had evidently been within earshot of my performance said 'you'll be lucky to keep your job after some of the stuff you said'. I could have cried and I didn't voluntarily speak to anyone for the rest of the day, largely because I was too hungover to think. Cheap wine is deadly. After this incident when I thoroughly deserved to be mocked by my colleagues or had the word 'liability' tatooed on my forehead midweek revelry was very rare and when I suddenly became several peoples boss that's when you realise you've got an example to set. It was a huge turning point. I have digressed yet again. I think my point was you never risk a hangover midweek unless you don't get them (which was the big claim of one of the people who used to work for me). Some people reading this will know exactly who I mean! She is a remarkable young lady who I shall call Anna. Back to Lily Allen. I must confess to being a much bigger fan of Ms Allen (post 55) than of her music Not only have I always thought she was gorgeous but I love her attitude, sense of humour (particularly her irreverence). I do object to her materialism but I think that's part of her pop persona. Putting aside a lot of her pop persona, the rest of her is a lot more 'real' than most popstars particularly her chubbiness which just makes her more normal and natural. Maybe I just get this because I have a lot of time to think, time I wish I didn't have to kill.
Anyway, before I run off with another off-topic thought I'll reign myself in for a change. She has got a very creditable voice and some of her songs are pretty catchy. I don't really like her mockney chat that much but it's not as bad as the very pretty and painfully cute Kate Nash. Back to Ms Allen, I really like a couple of her better known tracks like 'the fear' and 'smile' and the obviously less mainstream 'f*ck you' which inspired the best audience reaction of the night. All in all another thoroughly worthwhile night, not least because of the adorable Ms. Allen, but also because I got to spend the evening with some of my favourite people, Shaun and his lovely and entertaining wife Renae and of course Simon, one of the kindest people with one of the darkest senses of humour I've ever met.People may remember Shaun as my friend who has an opinion about everything. In fact his blog - 'well clearly' strapline was 'An Englishman in Australia with too much time on his hands. Likes music, politics and having opinions.' . Well he's back from Oz with Renae and is a great person to have on your side, I'd hate him not to be.

25 Mar 2009

Post 115: Averil Buckley R.I.P (1953-2009)

If it's not one thing it's another. I knew something was wrong when Tracey (my neighbour/morning carer) had to get me out of bed an hour early. It was the news we've all feared, unfortunately Avs family have had to make that most difficult of decisions, to switch off her life support machine. This difficult decision was taken because it was felt that Av would have no quality of life if she regained consciousness. Something I'm pretty familiar with, but I'm living the life of Riley compared to what she would have had to deal with. She wouldn't have just been in a wheelchair. Because her lungs weren't working properly she would have probably needed a mask and Oxygen cylinder 24/7, because of problems with her kidneys she would have required regular dialysis and this doesn't include what major neurological damage she suffered as a result of the heart attack. As a pretty active lady, she would of hated the rest of her life in that state so perhaps this is the right decision but it still feels rubbish, I feel terrible and I'm going to miss her, I don't really know what else to say, she was a great lady who improved my life, I have no more words.

22 Mar 2009

pOST 114: My 32nd birthday

Sadly, this isn't my computer so I won't be making a proper post because I can barely see the keys or this screen! Photo's from lunch are on facebook. I've now had a chance with my own computer. Here goes:

For some reason I am pretty knackered today, so my usual Joie de vivre;-) might be a bit muted but there is an outside chance of some/most of this post being upbeat despite there still being a lot of uncertainty in the air.
Poor Averil is still in hospital in bad shape awaiting the time her paltry condition is good enough for triple bypass surgery. Coping without her has been hard, you don't realise the impact a person made until they are taken from you. Yet another unwanted lesson on taking things for granted. Very little seems to go my way these days. Despite putting an ad on lots of websites to replace Av, I've so far drawn a blank. I am grateful for the temporary intervention of friends, family and neighbours who have provided a meal here, some company there and have generally helped me stave off lonliness during the last week.
Now, the upbeat stuff – I wish it could be more than just transient happiness that my 32nd birtday lunch created. For starters , a valuable lesson, never again will I try to organise something that required me to so accurately know the numbers. I might as well have been organising a wedding and I think we all know how unenjoyable the organisation of those bloody things is, was it worth investing this much of my non-existent energy for such an insignificant age? No, but I did it anyway and I'm glad I did! The plan was simply to have a buffet for all the people, friends and family who I feel have been a big part of my life (particularly since my stroke). Getting people together has always given me a boost but it has always made others happy so having a party like this is not purely for selfish reasons! Anyhow, I have mentioned it before but it was great to see such a good mixture of people there and jogs my memory about how random my life used to be! There was a mate from school, friends from college, friends I'd met in my slightly hazy Djing days,
friends from work and family friends. What has always pleased me is how well these utterly disparate groups get on, I hope it's more than just putting on a brave face because they have a seriously disabled friend in common. If they are putting on a brave face they're doing a seriously good job of it and being honest I find all the 'Posh' jibes hilarious, in fact I'm just going to quote back a hilarious comment I received in an email this morning from an unnamed club promoterer who for the sake of anonymity I will refer to as S. Williams. 'Dom, you once came to a party wearing a blazer. The people I went to school with think a blazer is the result of playing with matches in the school canteen... ' Genius that man. Saturday did a lot to lift me up from the depths of despair. Give me a metaphorical kick via email or in person if I sound depressed, I'll come round
Finally, what struck me on saturday is how ferociously my friends have been breeding, hardly a married couple turned up without a baby or twins in one case. The whole event had been planned with this in mind, not just to keep my mother occupied and believe me it is the quietest, busiest and happiest I've seen her since my niece and nephews were last over from America!
Last thanks must go to the incredible Chris Dugdale for his amazing close up magic. His brother is a great mate of mine from University and they have both been great since my stroke. Chris' magic and the howls of incredulity and applause made the afternoon a great one, not just a good one. Thankyou All. I was moved to write this to those I invited yesterday, apologies to thosewho have already seen it.
'I am just about recovered so I'd hope that you all are! I thought Saturday was a huge success despite the organisation and the taking part almost killing me! The turnout was just short of 70 (and that doesn't include children) which I'm pretty pleased with, with hardly any inexplicable last minute no shows (the can't be arsed brigade who ruin innumerable events) but a couple of hilarious last minute excuses including one poor chap who ended up in Oxted! There were several expletives in his message! I thought The Bear did a superb buffet which was morn than worth the £15 a head. Special thanks to my dad for bearing the cost of upgrading the whole party to the £20 menu. A noble idea which certainly delighted a lot of taste buds (it was the first time I've had fried food in six months) and longer since I've had chocolate - I certainly dived into the marshmallows with chocolate sauce at the end. Special thanks are due to Chris Dugdale for his amazing magic - there were a lot of very confused looking people! I don't think I'll ever forget the look on my mums face when he produced her wristwatch out of thin air and there are probably few people in New Zealand that didn't hear her afterwards. Also, big thanks go to all the people who bravely brought their kids, my mums Coo's are still ringing in my ears and her smile is indented on my retina. The event made my (admittedly woeful) year and gives me a reason to keep enduring each day. It made me especially happy to see such a varied group including some who hadn't seen others for years. To me that's what life's all about!
I best shut up now lest I spoil it!

19 Mar 2009

Post 113: Life gets worse just in time for my birthday

Another pretty non-descript week in my world, the only good news about poor Averil (my erstwhile carer who had a major heart attack last week) is that she's still alive but the prognosis is not good with her requiring a triple bypass which is not routine walk in the park stuff. She has been moved to a major hospital (St Georges, Tooting) for the surgery but she has to be off a ventilator, ie breathe on her own before she has surgery and apparently there's little certainty around when/if that will happen. As if that wasn't bad enough, Natasha, the former love of my life phones me up on Wednesdayto tell me she's engaged. I suppose this was inevitable and it really shouldn't affect me but I'm not strong enough for it not to. When Natasha 'moved on' when I was still in hospital but getting out of there was in sight, Sonja, the lead psychologist said to me 'is it going to take a rock on her finger for you to get over her?' and I remember tearfully replying ' oh god no, that'd kill me'. Well, I'm still alive but I feel dead inside. I shouldn't care but I do, it's the worst news I've ever had and I mean that. It is the ultimate rejection, and I have never felt so utterly worthless, useless and pathetic. I used to be tougher than this but now I have the emotional fortitude of a small child in a shopping centre who has lost his parents or maybe the buried alive metaphor I used in the last post. I am trying to get through this by spending as much time with friends and my amazing new girlfriend but Asli and my friends have their own jobs, lives and problems and simply don't have the strength, time,energy and lets face it, patience to help out an emotionally stunted (retarded is probably better) cripple. Life is sh*t right now and progress feels slow to negligible. I promise to be happier on saturday. This Vid might cheer a few people up. It almost killed me! There appears to have been an error uploading the damn vid, I'll try again later

15 Mar 2009

Post 112: Trying to Put some Pieces back

After yesterdays depressing effort I'll have a go at being a bit more cheerful but I can't promise anything particularly as I've already been asked 'what's wrong Dom' by my friend Rocio who came in to help me do my morning routine this morning, regular readers of this will remember Rocio as the first agency carer I had when I left hospital. She is wonderful and despite having a 6 month old baby to look after, she always comes to help out in an emergency, after helping me out this morning she was off to the hospital to visit Averil, that's the kind of person she is, when she moves back to Spain at the end of this year she will be greatly missed, not just by me but by everyone who's ever met her, she is a great lady. There are few people I have more respect for.
Despite the subject matter of yesterdays post, I stand (sorry sit) by the content. Reasonable people will see where I'm coming from and I couldn't care less what unreasonable people think! These were the thoughts of someone who feels as forsaken and lonely as someone who has been buried alive and left to die.
Even though I may be looking forward to turning 32 on friday and seeing a lot of my friends on the Saturday I am still smarting from having to spend yet another weekend alone. It seems to be the fate of the wheelchair bound to basically get used to spending time with myself. Sadly Asli ( the gorgeous girl who has restored my faith in humanity) is unwell and I am so ashamed I can do nothing to help her. All I have wanted to do since she told me of her malady is go and look after her but with no way of travelling I am f*cked, a prisoner in my own home.
I still don't know how I'm going to cope with Av being elsewhere. She was ideal at being my carer, she knew exactly the help I needed, she was an awesome cook, particularly since I've been on a diet, she kept the house clean and tidy and kept me in clean laundry and linen, sorted out my numerous and complicated medications and drove my van around as and when but more important she used to think on her feet what the most useful thing to do would be to make life easier for me or my friends, if that meant picking someone up from the station or making the bed for people to use the spare room then so be it. She just made my life easier and when she wanted to be was entertaining company, sure there were occasions when I found her white South African views a little anachronistic but the colurful nature of her language and quirky sense of humour more than made up for this. Caroline leaving also quickly unblurred who was the master of the house and Av finding out that her erstwhile good friend and daugther in law (Caroline) was in fact a lying charlatan (a story I'll explain face to face with people but it's a well deserved label) seemingly embarrassed Av into being an even better carer.
Since her heart attack, The emergency plan has swung into action. My brother (Chris) has shelved some of the job he's been doing renovating a house in Maidstone to come and help me out, Tracey (my neighbour has been keeping an eye on me in the evenings, Mariusz and Ilona, my other housemates who just have to live here and have zero responsibility for me have chipped in and bring me Tea and Jaffa cakes in the morning so my blood sugar is high enough to give me enough uumph to get up in the mornings. There's also Elise, a lovely local lady who Ian (my physical therapist) and I ran into whilst she was setting up a birthday party for her 6 year old son in the village hall during one of my thrice weekly walking sessions. Since meeting her she has already decided to raise money for a stroke charity in the London marathon (she was already running just hadn't decided her charity), because she lives down the road, she has dropped in with meals a couple of times and she has agreed to help me with some of my exercises which I would simply not bother to do on my own. The real find has been Ian though, who has been an ideal physical therapist. I'm sure finding him has changed my life. Even though doing much of the exercise is horrible and the walking practice is some of the hardest mental effort I've ever had to make. He also phones me every so often just to check up on me. It's acts of kindness from all these people that make life worth living. Let's all hope that Av gets better.

14 Mar 2009

Post111:A Nihilistic rant after a rubbish week

I think it would be fair to say this has been my worst week since the last one. It has taught me a sad lesson about life and even I can't find anything to laugh about despite the sun shining, it is still too cold to venture outside in my wheelchair and there's nobody around to take me because sadly I still don't feel confident enough to trundle around on my own, there's also nowhere to go,and nowhere I feel like going because going anywhere makes me wonder how tired I'm going to be later, FFS It's a spring Saturday, on a day like today I would have made my own plan's, relied on myself to make my own fun but I can't do that anymore, the best thing I can think of to do is to sit in front of this damn computer, typing this at twenty words a minute with my right index finger and all I can do is think about how tired this is making me for the nothing I've got to do later.
The lesson this week has taught me is never to believe things are getting better because just as you start to believe things are improving some bastard (fate in this case) pulls the rug out from underneath the wheels of your wheelchair. For those of you wondering what I'm going on about, This terrible feeling has been caused by a seeming loss of control in my life because Averil, my housemate and carer had a serious heart attack on Wednesday. Poor Av, her life has been hard enough already, and looking after me can't of improved things, a day later Tracey, my neighbour who does my mornings tells me she's just been accepted on a course and can't do my mornings from the beginning of April for three months, so this week what is left of my pathetic, miserable life has fallen off a cliff and I'm not fighting for my life in hospital like poor Av. It's at times like these I want to rant and rage at religious people, so I will. I was watching a debate on TV the other day between god-squaders and scientists and I recognised one of the scientists, a man called Dr Peter Atkins, a man whose lectures on physical chemistry I had yawned through as a first year Chemistry Student at Oxford. Thankfully I had changed course after the first year so I no longer had to suffer Dr Atkins frankly boring musings on Thermodynamics or Quantum Mechanics. Anyway, despite him being a bore he was after all the man who had actually written THE textbook on Physical Chemistry and had a Rolls Royce to prove it, some of the things he said were clearly worth listening to. So, in this debate he said something that made a lot of sense, it was 'If god exists and evolution is correct, then god cannot be said to be benevolent! Now, there's plenty of evidence for evolution, in fact the only people who dispute it are religious nutters (sorry, believers).
What this made me think and I make no apology for saying this, if god exists, he is evil, a sadist that enjoys watching us suffer. Both Av and I have been selected to suffer and it makes me mad. Man and animals can only go through life and maybe, just maybe enjoy it if everything goes right. Everything good in life is only ever achieved by hard work. If it comes easier, it is illegal or immoral or expensive or worse still, a combination of these things. This is a rather nihilistic way of looking at the world but the weeks events have conspired to create this mood which serve to obscure any of the good stuff which I'll try to write about after my 32nd birthday next friday.

8 Mar 2009

Post 110, 'finding the funny' with Steven K Amos

I must say I have been lucky with some of the shows I have seen and Friday night was no exception when I took (or rather they chauffeured me to see 'one of the stalwarts of the comedy circuit and hero of the Edinburgh festival' [Dara O Briain] to see Steven K Amos in Farnham, the last night of his 'find the funny' tour. I may be guilty here of saying everything is brilliant but it's true that anything that gets me out of the house and gives me a chance to see my mates is great. Every show so far has been more than worth the investment in cash and energy (which has sadly always been the biggest consideration). Anyway, the show. If you haven't heard of him you should have and I'm glad to have drawn attention to him. He is probably mid to late 40s having arrived in south east london from the Caribbean in the 60s and a lot of his material is based on how typical white Londoners reacted to a Caribbean family and how white people have reacted to him over the years, the other half of his franchise is how the young people of today 'have it easy'. His delivery is incredibly charming , sharp and bloody intelligent mixing in great pre-prepared gags with razor sharp banter with the audience which always impresses me. He does take the piss out of the person he picks on and woe betide anyone who takes him on but without being abusive in fact he started out by taking the piss out of the whole audience, the venue (a glorified shed in Farnham called the Maltings) and how the posh people of Surrey had probably never seen a black man, 'no they probably have staff' he quipped. As the last night of his tour, he probably had visions of ending up somewhere more grandiose than a shed south of Guildford which is why he was feeling a little chippy. Because it was the last night of the tour he was being extraordinarily affable and even went to have a pint with the audience in the interval proving what a down to earth guy he is, in fact when I squeezed my chair past him on the way back from the bog, he even thanked me for coming and he said 'thanks for laughing, you can be heard', he also responded personally to a message I sent him on facebook apologising for my stupid laugh, sadly it is now rather hard to moderate the volume and duration of my laugh. A hereditary condition inherited from my mum's side of the family (those that have met her will know what I mean) it has got a lot worse since my stroke!
An honorable mention should definitely go to his warm up act Sean Walsh who was very funny, his franchise being that he looked like a vagrant. Because it was the last night of the tour Sean and Steven had some quality unscripted onstage banter when they rather hilariously did send up's of each other, it had obviously been a long and exhausting tour and Sean(the son figure was clearly dying to take the piss publicly out of his father figure/mentor/ condescending boss !
Finally, a big thankyou to my friends that came and expertly kept me company and did a damn fine job of looking like they were enjoying themselves. I take my metaphorical hat off to them, Mr Amos and Sean Walsh. What I especially like about these nights is everyone has a good time without having to get plastered or stay out till the stupid hours yielding to those who can appreciate them that rarest of things, a hangover free and fully rested Saturday!
If it wasn't for 'finding the funny' in life it would be more than just me that wouldn't find life worth living.

I also just took the unusual and positive step of typing out what my goals for the next couple of years are. They probably won't be appearing here.

1 Mar 2009

Post109: Being looked after and another lovely lunch

Another mundane week and Avril (my carer) has been away this weekend which is fair enough but in the past has caused a bit of a system crash because it has meant I've had nobody around to help me get out of bed and get my morning routine underway because I am not independent enough to be able to do it myself but things were a little different this weekend. The Brave regular readers of this rubbish will remember I recently met a gorgeous girl called Asli – well, she kindly stepped in and has done an amazing job, she has kept me company, cooked for me and been affectionate and reassured me that I look great despite my perception of my freakish appearance all weekend, she feels like a miracle after so long in hell and feeling so painfully lonely, she is amazing and I can't wait to introduce her to people over the coming months or at my rapidly approaching 32nd birthday which if you feel you should have heard about and haven't is because I couldn't organise a piss-up in a brewery with my current brainpower!
I suppose there have been a couple of interesting developments this week
I did my sleep test on Tuesday to see if sleep apnoea is contributing to my fatigue, I have already mouthed off about how angry I am that this wasn't done during the two years I was in hospital but now they tell me after I have to spend an inconvenient night in a strange place next to a noisy main road hooked up to god knows how many electrodes that the results will take a month! I spent 2 odd years waiting for everything and call me impatient but I'm fed up with it! A month, a f*cking MONTH, I could probably do it faster myself, I've probably picked up enough jargon in two years and my writing is dire enough to write a prescription and given how much the medical profession seem to know about the brain and stroke my guess is probably as good as theirs. In fact the treatment for sleep apnoea is so earth-shatteringly simple (a breathing mask at night with an oxygen cylinder it's a wonder they just don't give it a go and see what happens rather than bother with the rigmarole of the test:Another efficiency discovered by D.S.H Pardey esq! Bound to fall on deaf ears though. No-one listens to me: I wonder why? The other thing that has quite helped this week has been discovering the different strokes messageboard. Different strokes is a charity set up for young stroke survivors (<60 years old) There seem to be very few genuuinely young stroke survivors which has made me feel even more on my own and unusual ,so I instantly put up a couple of questions, one about fatigue and one about walking: So far the answers have been kind and courteous if not exactly helpful but you never know if someone is going to come up with some pure gold, here's hoping.
Changing the subject totally, I have just come back from a lovely lunch with exactly the same people as in post 79. For those who can't be arsed (oh that's everyone):That's Simon Dawes, his wife Yvonne and their two little terrors Joseph and Isabelle and recently engaged Anna and Paul who believe it or not used to work for Simon then when Simon quite rightly got promoted up to greater things I took over his job despite having to wing a lot of stuff and became their boss.
Anyway our friendship survived this and them being engaged is great news and Pauls jokes are as bad as ever. Here's what he wrote on my facebook wall last week.
“cheers for the best wishes, sorry for the delay in getting back to you, Anna monopolises the puter and I am not too clever at this facebook lark
looking forward to meeting up, and have invested in the harry hill book of jokes to ensure guaranteed bad jokes - such as
'how did the washing powder get out at cricket?' -
see you next week
I'm sorry but you've gotta love that!



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