Saturday, 17 September 2011

Keeping faith.

I am so sorry it has been so long since I have been able to keep in touch. I have had a number of episodes where I have been left unable to walk properly resulting in two emergency visits to hospital. I had nearly a month off work & on my return found the new job I had worked so hard to keep was at risk & I may be made redundant. All this paled into insignificance when earlier this month my Dad overdid things gardening on a hot day & collapsed while I was at work. I felt so guilty not being there for them. Our kind neighbour saved the day & helped rehydrate him. He thankfully made a recovery but with his 87th birthday soon his well being & confidence have really taken a blow.

So much seems to have happened to our friends lives since I was last here. I have been thinking about my friends a lot. I feel sorry I have neglected dear friends like Lucy. I was so pleased to discover two dear friends Jo & Lori have returned to share their lives with us once more. They have been special friends, sharing their good times & their bad. So kind & always caring

I feel humbled & take inspiration from how friends conduct themselves in adversity. The spirit they show. I always try to imagine how they may be feeling, what it may be like to walk in their shoes. The quote on lori’s blog “Be kinder than necessary for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle..." seem so appropriate for my recent life experiences.

Back in July I had been really struggling with my health & becoming increasingly emotionally driven.

In my Mums words “It was as though the light that had been shining in my eyes had gone out”. I had put it all down to my vulnerability to depression & was determined not to let it beat me. I wanted to look after my family, keep my job, be there for my friends & not let anyone down. Sometimes I can be too self critical & not make allowances for how I was feeling or ask for help. I was increasingly worrying about my Dads declining health & the plight of so many of my friends.

In the space of three days I found my life turned upside down. I struggled to help at work & felt so fatigued I had to leave early. Over a weekend my legs felt heavier & heavier to the point I could no longer walk properly. On the point of collapse, using my dear Dads walking stick to support me, I got an emergency appointment to see a doctor. She discovered I had a temperature of 39. A temperature she had never seen before in an adult. I also had a severe infection which she felt must have been going on for some time. Her declaration she had never seen a patient looking so ill seemed to make me feel worse. She immediately referred me to the acute medical unit of the local hospital, the very same hospital I normally work in.

In emergency once again the NHS came to our families rescue & could not have been kinder or more helpful.

I recall arriving semi conscious falling out of a taxi with my dear Mum by my side. I found her seconding a wheelchair from reception to attempt to push me to ACU before I stopped her & a member of staff came to our aid. The doctors & Nurses truly where angels without wings. Reassuring both Mum & I, whose specialist subject would likely be “anxiety “ every step of the way. All kinds of tests followed, blood, water & xrays. They concluded because of the severity of the water infection & the duration it had been allowed to go on without showing any obvious symptoms it had found a weakness in my muscles which a course of antibiotics should cure. They appeared to do the trick but the side effects of the medication caused a level of pain in my ears that was the most physically painful of my life, until some cocodomyl kicked in.

My legs felt as though I had just run a marathon. I wanted to trying do too much too soon landed me a ticking off from the doctor who ordered me complete rest for a while. The sight of my dear parents having to do all the work looking after me at a time when they should be taking things easy was so disturbing at the time. On reflection they had found a strength inside them which gave them the desire to do things we had perhaps all lost faith that they could at their tender years attempt. To see them both renewed & empowered was a joy to behold.

Everyday I rested our doggy would wait patiently at the bottom of our stairs to see me. I was too weak to be able to walk him. The last time Dad had taken our doggy out on his own; he had fallen & badly bruised his face. This time Mum donned her warm clothes & water proofs to go with him regardless of the impact of the inclement weather on her much loved hairdo! Love found a way.

As the strength in my legs grew stronger I came for walks with them. Dad refused his stick insisting I use it until I felt much better. This proved very insightful as now our roles were some how reversed. There had been brief moments of anxiety at times when I was afraid I may be late for work when Dads frailty had caused him to struggle to walk. There he was walking more upright, more alive than he had been for such a long time.

When I first went into work to let them know how I was doing my Dad came with me to look after me in case I fell. I introduced him to everyone. It was a beautiful moving experience. To see the Dad who in the past turmoil of our lives pre transition had said he could never walk with me as his daughter, stand their by my side, with the colleagues who were all my friends, warmly putting him at ease, was magical. A day we had for different reasons never really had the faith could ever happen! We had now metaphorically both taken a walk in the other persons shoes.

A month later I managed to go back to work even though I could not walk very far at all. I struggled in only to find my collegues & I, like so many all over the world during the recession, being called to a meeting to be told all our jobs were at risk & we may be made redundant by Christmas. I felt so sorry for my long serving dedicated collegues. They have all made me feel so welcome & so supportive. Life is tough for everyone.

A month after I came back to work I went through a mildly stressful morning & felt the build up off feeling in my legs that signalled the return of another attack. Within 20 yards I collapsed & this time had the chance to travel in an ambulance back to hospital. I felt something of a fraud as I actually felt a lot better in myself than my last emergency visit to the acute medical department as I did not have a high temperature at all, just no control over my thigh muscles. The staff were all brilliant once again, but in spite of further tests could not establish a definite cause for my condition as no infection was present. I did at least recover a lot quicker. As my job was at risk I had asked permission from the consultant if I felt strong enough to return to work the following day to be allowed to go in. He agreed to this but explained should I have further episodes I would possibly need to referred to a neurology as an outpatient for further tests. I just wish I knew what caused it. For once a label would be nice.

Since then my Dad was sadly poorly but thankfully now on the mend. I had one more very mild brief attack until this week when I had to use a stick to walk for a couple of days. I had more blood tests done ironically in the childrens department, thanks to friends. They got the tests done really quickly for me. So quickly that when I finally got back home to see my post yesterday a day later I had a letter from my doctor asking me to come back to see her as something had shown up on the tests. Knowing that they have actually found something is reassuring but also the not knowing what is just a little scary.

Sorry for writing so much after being away for so long.
I am not sure when my legs will allow me to get to a computer again to access the www but I hope to catch up with you all soon
Debbie x