21 Apr 2013

Post 393: Fending for myself as best I can

Well, I have somehow survived week one of Gary/Gwens well deserved holiday but I learnt a valuable lesson yesterday – I do attempt to only go to good things, but sometimes assumption is the mother of all f*ck ups and I had ‘Horrible Histories, The Terrible Tudors and the Vile Victorians’ in the diary, and I had assumed it would be a dramatised look at history – well, it was, but aimed at 7 year olds! Having suffered five minutes of the ‘learning the Henry VIII song for remembering what had happened to his six wives’ – Isabel and I opted to leave and hit the pub for a sociable glass of red wine – my abilities may be below those of a seven year old, but at least beneath this pathetic exterior, I’m not a pre-school learner. Isabel luckily saw the funny side. She has basically taken over carer duties since Thursday – what a hero!
Even though I am a bit lost without Gary and Gwen, my do they deserve/need their break. After all, they have put up with me for well over 52 weeks without a rest and I am tiresome!
I am surviving but lost without them but so grateful to people who are helping me out, kind friends like Isabel, who is right this second giving my lounge a proper vacuum, we went to see Il Divo and Katherine Jenkins at the Dome on Friday (before the Horrible histories debacle) with Isa’s mate, Jolanta. It was a good thing to have gone to because the male tenor voice at full whack sounds triumphant and uplifting, if you’re not familiar with Il Divo (as I wasn’t), they are 4 late 30s/early 40s good looking Operatic tenors(apols for the sound going off during zooms, a particularly sh*te feature of this particular camera) who have simultaneously invented the classical/pop crossover genre whilst setting pulses racing among ladies that loved ’50 shades of gray’ and we all know how popular that bloody book was. La di da, I think I’ll stick with the copious volume of free internet pornography, thanks.
Just deviating slightly, I can think of a few reasons why I might be interested in seeing Katherine Jenkins. Two are immediately obvious, The third is obviously her unbelievable voice which you can scarcely believe comes from that body! There are no two ways about it, she is a 10. The type of girl, who like seeing a supercar, would make you turn your head, and cause a certain ex of mine to fly into a strop because I’d glanced. Anyway that’s another story, not for this blog! This wasn’t my first visit to the Dome even this week. On Tuesday, I’d been to see Canadian Indian comic Russell Peters. The reason he can fill out the Dome is his franchise is ethnic minorities with darker skins, and because of his Indian heritage, he’s in the ‘club’, he can take the piss out of ethnic stereotypes all day, till the sacred cows come home! And they bloody love it. My former colleague, Will and I, were the only non-brown people I think. We came to his Dome show back in late 2010, and I’m pretty sure his modus operandi hasn’t changed. It is just to pick on somebody in the first ten rows and then mock their racial stereotype to immense hilarity. It’s hardly rocket surgery and because I’m a fan of stereotype impressions and general mockery, I’m a big fan. Will is a fan because he used to be a buyer at John Lewis and has dealt with every kind of brown person imaginable. I have respect for how quick Peters is, especially as he’s in front of such a large crowd.
I’m always a little humbled when people take me out, just for something like lunch as it shows a generosity of spirit that it’s not hard to believe doesn’t exist in this work-a-day world, but as if to piss on my chips, my friends (Tristan and Macca) have just called to say thry have foolishly put unleaded into their diesel Streetcar, and as John Bishop says ‘like pouring gin into a woman, sooner or later, she’s gonna breakdown’ which is precisely what’s happened. No lunch for me today,I could probably stand to lose some weight. Tristan and lovely wife Macca should get here in time for Tea
Enough of what I’m doing to try and ward off boredom, starvation, squalor and death, my strategy for getting through this has been to nicely ask people for help. Luckily my weekday mornings are being covered by a combination of Jose and my brother, evenings/weekends are a bit more ad hoc but so far, so good. People are doing a brilliant job, and there’s nothing like the sense of gratitude you feel to people who are genuinely saving your life. That may sound like I’m over-egging things but when you can’t cook , clean or get off the floor and trying to do any of these things without help is impossibly exhausting, you soon realise that there isn’t a way you could cope on your own. Trying to stay mentally tough in these circumstances isn’t really an option, in fact, racking my brains, I can’t think of a single person who wouldn’t find this to be one of the biggest mental challenges of their life, it’s not just not being able to do things, it’s the solitude, seriously, I don’t understand how I cope with being on my own. I’m really not bigging myself up, far from it, but I’m amazed I’m not more miserable, it doesn’t get much worse!
Sort of changing the subject: ‘Some people will always need help, it doesn’t mean they’re not worth helping’ is a line from a recent episode of HBO megaseries Game of Thrones that I am just a bit addicted to. [There aren’t going to be any spoilers, I’m not a dick] I know I’m not the only fan of the series, but I have no doubt there are some eyes glazing over thinking ‘Here he goes again’. It throws up some questions, that at least I think are interesting. I used to be a reader, not so much a series watcher. On that score This made me laugh [warning, loud with occasional swearing but so funny]Now, my eyesight and dexterity are not really good enough to read books, and watching TV is a bit of a nightmare – so I gave audiobooks a shot but even then I’m too tired to listen to the bastards. I started trying to listen to them whilst lying down in my bed, after syncing them to an ipad, which I can just about use to play them out loud and guess what? I fell asleep. So I can’t sit up or lie down or see a TV that well. I’m between a rock, a hard place and a diamond mine!
To me, the only logical thing to hope for any quality of life is to find a way where sitting in a f*cking wheelchair isn’t so exhausting, and my neurologist has said to me that if I stay fit and healthy that I stand a good chance of being one of the early beneficiaries of the ‘constant breakthroughs they’re always making in neuroscience’
I hate not sounding positive but in almost eight f*cking years since my stroke, I have not heard of a single useful breakthrough. I have been put on specific medication three times that I was told ‘might improve things’ and numerous USELESS antidepressants. Ritalin made my carer think I’d had another stroke. Keppra made my balance and speech worse, at least Phampridine just did nothing. Prozac made me suicidal. Boredom doesn’t do justice to how I feel, and I feel that I’ll be told off now for not being upbeat enough, ‘being too honest’, ‘being too negative’ et-bleedin-cetera. Just about the only thing that has cheered me up has been a couple of emails from my dad, who is having the most well deserved escape with Mum and my sister’s family in Antigua to celebrate their golden (yes 50 years) wedding anniversary. As soon as dad said that it’s a ‘bit like paradise’ I wanted to see pictures. Dad worked it out, and sent a few. It looks alright, I even found myself replying to my dad
very amusing and it's always re-assuring to hear from you. I'm very envious of the free-flowing Malbec and all I can imagine is that Mum and the kids must be in heaven[not because of the Malbec], they are, who after-all, the holiday was aimed at, I'm sure you're under no illusions. Chris is being awesome, the list is too long
Last but not least, a quick vid just to prove that having a stroke is pretty bloody far from being a lifetime holiday

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