12 Dec 2009

Post 171: Life temporarily affirmed

I managed on Thursday to re-acquaint myself with my pre-stroke arch-nemesis, I'm talking of course about the hangover which I managed to acquire courtesy of a few too many glasses of red wine at the Trust Christmas drinks at the Album bar in Chelsea on Thursday. The evening for me was beautifully summed by a couple of emails I got on friday morning:
Thanks for having your drinks tonight.

'If it wasn't for you and everyone getting together to see you I wouldn't see so many of the old friends I saw tonight. I had a fantastic time.

Sorry we didn't get longer to talk but I hope you enjoyed it - it was terrific.

Thank you'

'Hi Dom

Hope you had a good night.
It was certainly very well attended.
Great to see you (as ever).
I am nursing a monstrous hangover this morning – no idea how I managed to cycle in….

Similar sentiments, expressed differently, both made me smile! I feel just a bit lucky today because I have such special friends and family, it may be impossible to really get properly involved but it's times like these since my stroke that make me happy, and not much breaks through the clouds these days. It was so good to see everyone particularly some old college mates that I just don't get to see these days. In particular, A man who one would have thought I'd have got to know very well at college, Andrew Forrest
(On the right with Rich Rous in the middle(clearly allowing the Barnet to grow and Roger Evers, a gent who often has taken the time to come and see me since my stroke) Back to Forrie, he wasn't a student, he was junior Dean of Exeter College, in charge of college discipline and dishing out fines and unbelievably we ascertained last night that not once did he fine me, you decide: Was I a goody goody or master criminal? We couldn't quite believe it?! He's now a teacher, thanks go to James Renshaw for finding him. Other college friends were my best mate Tony, with lovely girlfriend Kate, Matt and lovely wife Martha,
Alex (of Dundas fame) who I will always remember from my college days as the 'man about town', recent proud father and charming man Dom Ellis (with less hair than I recall and Su and husband Kit who had come down from Oxford specially, and I could never forget Helen VJ who has been instrumental in keeping the trust going, she was also instrumental in organising a raffle that apparently raised £600 for the trust, money that is sorely needed as the trust needs to raise more money because my physiotherapy doesn't come cheap In fact Hels asked me to write a little something for a trust flyer she was going to distribute on the night which I hope explains the importance of the trust to me:

If you're reading this, firstly, thankyou for not chucking it straight
in the bin and for coming to one of the most beneficial events there
is for my tortured mind. It will be difficult for me for the rest of
my life and events like this make things a little easier much like the
Trust has made my life easier. The NHS would have given me one session
of physiotherapy a month, instead thanks to the trust I do 6 a week.
It feels like hard forced labour all the time but I do it because I
owe you, my friends and family and myself to recover as well as I can
so I can stop being such a miserable bastard and feel normal again! I
might even drink to that! I live to see people and try to stay busy.
Seeing people at home is my favourite thing (apart from Sleeping of
course) and restores my faith in humanity which is sometimes
lacking. Life has often been unbearable since my stroke but it is the
kindness of friends, family and even strangers that has kept my head
above water. Even if I find Christmas pretty hard these days because
Christmas Day 2009 will mark four years since my near death, but this
shouldn't make Christmas a write-off to anyone else. I hope I was able
to talk to everyone this year, see you next year and thankyou. Bah,
Moving on I often pinch myself at the number of gorgeous ladies
that come to this, I am lucky to have met so many down the years, most recently there's Rachel (right) and Suze
who I have met through social networking Behemoth Facebook, both come and have tea with me occasionally. They're both lovely and we've got loads to talk about. I am so impressed by their bravery in coming to the drinks last night. There was also Beautiful Kath and beautiful Helen who I love seeing, they are both among my most treasured friends for so much more than being gorgeous, the same goes for my psychologist Vickiher smile when I see her every week gets me through the week. There are simply too many to mention individually, but I will mention Claudia, who turned up with her charming husband cradling Twelve day old son, Milo. I can't believe I didn't get a picture! On the same theme, it was so kind of 7 months pregnant former colleague Eleanor (right)
to come along, I would have thought she had the perfect excuse to put her feet up at home. I was touched. I was also humbled by the presence of some of my old friends from my clubbing/DJ-ing days, Steve, Anetta and Timmy, Fi, Annabel and 'voice of reason' (these days) Simon. There was also a good smattering of my ex-colleagues from John Lewis, Will and bald man extraordinaire Ed, with Justine who I can't find a bloody picture of. Talented people who I was fortunate to have as friends and colleagues, not forgetting Jackie (My bosses secretary till she retired a few years back) who has helped me so much since I met her. As well as being my 'office mum' while I worked there she has taken it upon herself to introduce me to the JL retirement network which is coordinated by Ginni(centre, next to Jackie. I was also chuffed to see oft mentioned former colleague Simon Dawes there, he has been such a legend!Thanks also go to Sue for her consistent support, although I wasn't alone in being gutted that her gorgeous daughter Alex
couldn't make it. There are many people I have forgotten I'm sure, but I can't forget my family, and their friends. Over the last four years everyone has got to know my family because come and see me and it's more than likely they'll be here at some stage. My mum and dad (left) are no longer spring chickens and their omnipresence since my stroke has been amazing, and has taught me that blood is thicker than water (whatever that means,) they have never given up on me despite the fact that I never materialised into a child that can look after them which is what they have always wanted, sadly life has conspired against that particular plan. Lets not forget my brother Chris (helping me out as usual.
We may have had our disagreements but our family (me in particular) couldn't survive without him. Not only has he made the house that I live in habitable, he is also the only one in our family that can do practical things. We have also kept each other company and having him around is a massive help and does so much to reduce the almost perpetual fear in which I now live. You're probably getting bored now, I lastly want to thank the Enormous effort made by Gordon to be there, here is a man I was in hospital with for a couple of months in 2006, and has remained friends and has proffered me the odd wise word, I know that the journey too/from the drinks was quite a serious undertaking, thanks for making the effort, not just to Gordon, to everyone! This has been a hell of a week,starting with the Bootleg Beatles with my physio, Ian and my Neighbour, Tracey at the Albert Hall on Monday, Marcus 'if you want proof there's no god, look at Jedward' Brigstocke with Simon, Jack and Kel on Tuesday in Epsom, the Brilliant Placebo
at the Dome with Oli on Wednesday, we just managed to fight our way through all the Emo's, Trust drinks on Thursday, and impressionist Alistair McGowan in Dorking with Suze last night, my hangover may be gone but I think I'm due a rest. Apologies to those I forgot to mention from the trust drinks. Also, apologies to those that found this post a bit gushy.

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