16 Sep 2012

Post 367: it feels like ages...

...since I’ve added anything to this unweighty tome. I’ve formulated a hair-brained theory (you know, the type untroubled by empirical or scientific fact) that our summers are coming later – ie there’s no need to get depressed that summer is over by the time September has started because you’re going to be guaranteed one or two glorious days in September and because they are quite unexpected they just make you feel a bit better. I know talking about weather is duller than dull but I got an email from a mate of mine who has moved her whole family out to California to move with her husband’s job and the impression I get is that waking up every day to endless blue sky is nothing short of euphoric for them. I was chatting about this to my dad (perhaps the oracle about trivia like this) and he told me that Boeing have an assembly plant in California which is open to the air which is just an earth-shattering concept to me.
Well, the main reason I’m talking about the weather (apart from the fact that I’m English) is that last Sunday (9th) was one of these glorious days and it was made even better by the fact I was taken out for lunch by Gina and Oli Tress. I was at University with Gina and she has aged amazingly,

she still looks identical to how she looked in her early twenties despite having two kids. Her kids (Talia and Bruno) are cute and her husband Oli

is charming (he takes me to events sometimes) The kids were also a big fan of the slide I’ve got in my garden

(a bit of a stroke of genius my mum deciding it was better situated in my garden than hers). And special thanks to Chey for popping in for a quick motivational chat and TellyWatch in the evening. I appreciate the company.
Now that I’ve got rid of my pesky Gall Bladder I can get back to the serious business of taking people out/being taken out for lunch. It’s one of the cornerstones of post-stroke life or as Dave Gorman just ridiculously said on the radio ‘one of the tent poles that keep life afloat’, why would you ever be in a floating tent? (Except maybe at Glastonbury)?

Even though eating and talking is not one of my strongpoints, ie not something I can do at the same time all that well. I suppose this is the big difference between pre and post stroke life. Pre-stroke, it’s more about the actual food –post-stroke, the food is a pleasant distraction, the main-event is the fact that the people are there, and that they’ve taken me out and elected to spend their precious time with a guy who (lets face it) looks and sounds a bit odd, is not happy and is well past his best. I wish I had a secret that this awful experience has taught me, that I could convey to people in hushed tones, let me think, no, I’ve got nothing!
Saying ‘never give up’ is patent b*llocks, it’s more like ‘pick and choose your battles’. To some this implies that in the battles you choose not to fight you’ve given up. Er, no, you’ve just decided to commit your limited energy a bit more intelligently. Sadly, there are two types of people you need to learn to ignore:
1. The Stroke Survivor who’s only advice is ‘never give up’. Every brain injury seems to have a different recovery profile. Those who have recovered well seem to make a lot of gains in the first few months, and don’t suffer from omnipresent Fatigue. Stories of people who make gradual recoveries over years are few and far between but seem to provide plenty of ammunition to the ‘never give up’ brigade. I play the percentages because I just have to.
2. People who seem to think a stroke is like any other illness ie One that you’ll recover from – I was probably one of the uneducated many that believed this before I actually had one. Here are the facts – If you had a very serious stroke that has taken away your energy, balance, co-ordination and use of your left side you won’t recover, your quality of life will be determined by how bloody minded you are to make sure you meet new friends, stay in touch with your old ones, do stuff and maintain the health and independence you do have. I think most people would be too depressed and too tired to do anything. Trying to avoid this state is now my number one priority. As some mafia stereotype said in ‘The Soprano’s’ ‘you’re at the precipice of a crossroads’ –eh, what, that makes no sense. To turn the corner(!) I need some luck. It’s a ridiculous platitude/cliché or plataché to say ‘you make your own luck’ but there is a certain amount of that in my strategy for life. Here comes the factual stuff about what I’ve been up to:
On the 7th I went to Wembley Arena to see Noel Gallaghers High Flying Birds.

Now several years ago I probably wouldn’t have bothered because I tarred Noel with the same Brush as Liam, ie, they were both miserable Northern bastads so I was damned if I was gonna like their music. I couldn’t give two sh*ts about how much people were raving about Oasis. The final straw in their coffin (!;)) had been when a random French guy on a skiing holiday had tried to make polite conversation with the line ‘I like waziz, ‘ave you ‘eard of waziz?’ As a typical Jonny Foreigner it took me several minutes to process this – but what I remember clear as a bell was resolving to dislike Oasis forever. Only marginally illogical, but I was a young xenophobe! Goodness, that must have been in the early 90s! So, after years of sibling fighting between the feckless Gallaghers they finally called an end to Oasis in about 2009. Since then Noel’s own project High Flying Birds has been churning out song after song that sound rather Oasis-like, confirming my suspicion that Liam had 0% creative input, and just behaved like a moron. Consistency has never been my strongpoint, cognitive dissonance has, but Noel has clearly got some talent. Therefore he is worthy of respect and I challenge anyone not to listen to ‘Everbodys on the run’ and not be a little uplifted. He’s got a great voice. Anyway, the support act were the brilliant Kooks,

a group who I’d last seen in October 2011 at Brixton Academy . If you haven’t got it, their Album ‘Junk of the Heart’ is exceptional.
My mate Graham who was supposed to be taking me couldn’t because the son of his best mate had been killed riding a moped in Thailand. There are few things that I can imagine are worse. My mate Ched

was able to take the reins after a quick bit of facebooking.
Wembley Arena is a funny old venue. It’s basically a large rectangular shed, that used to be a huge indoor swimming pool (last used in the 1948 Olympics. Despite it not being a patch on the Dome I quite like it, the sound is loud and clear and the seats they allocate to wheelchairs are bloody good

– it feels a bit like being on the level above a sea of people (although I can imagine being at the opposite end to the stage must be sh*t)

The Kooks were up first and were far to good to be a warm up act. We could imagine Noel cursing in his dressing room!
Anyway, they finished far too fast, and on came Noel. OK, his dour Northerness does grate a bit but he is pretty good. His monobrow does make him look like a bit of a vulture

(possibly why his band is called high flying birds I dunno) but he’s got plenty of great material. His latest stuff is superb and he proved that he can knock out Oasis numbers with ease. He finished with ‘Don’t look back in Anger’ which was pretty awesome.
I am conscious I’ve gone on but I’ve got a few rather big thankyous. Firstly to Alexa, a friend of a friend – a lady who lives in Bermuda, last week she happened to be in the UK for a work conference, and as she said she had read all of this blog (surely the only person in the world) she dropped in for a cup of tea and a chat). Wow, what a kind thing to do – I would have thought reading all of this might have made her steer well clear. She was charming, well spoken, beautiful and above all, married to a guy who looks like Antonio Banderas.

No fairytales here.
The second is to my friend Gaelle, who I went out for lunch with on Friday. A very level head on a lovely lady. A massive thankyou goes to my friend Isabel for coming round on Friday evening to start watching brilliant Boxset The Tudors

about Henry the Eighth, obviously while he wasn’t large enough to Crush his sexual partners. But being King back then was obviously a licence to do what you wanted.
What is disturbing is the influence religion had back then. It is used as an excuse to cloak the immorality of the powerful from the greater populace. I know it’s a dramatisation but they talk about the rich taking the piss today. Isa is a good mate – she invited me round for a BBQ with her friends and her son last night. There are some people you just take being exhausted for, and she seems able to put up with my utter exhaustion.
And finally, a big thanks again to Ched and his wife Terri for taking me to a gathering to celebrate the (temporary, for a holiday) return to this country from his new home in Sydney of Simon the Hat. The Hat is possibly one the most amusing blokes to walk this Earth, and his visits with his 6 months pregnant wife Lorena, are all too rare. The last time I saw the Hat clan must have been over 3 years ago because since I last saw them he has somehow acquired a 3 year old daughter, Charlotte (how does that happen? Answers on a postcard) Anyhow, despite not really being able to join in the general mirthmaking,

I’m glad I went even if the Grove Pub in Suburbiton is as conducive to a wheelchair as the Eiffel Tower Stairs. Good food though and the chance to see people I haven’t seen for years (people like Del and her twins).

Lord knows how I’ve had the energy to write this!


bagel said...

Choosing your battles sounds like a good approach Dom! See you in a couple of weeks.D.

Dom P said...

I don't always choose wisely which I imagine you'd already guessed. See you in a couple.



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