I went clothes shopping yesterday. It was only a trip to Matalan and I didn’t spend a fortune but as I’ve increased a size since last summer (this is a good thing) I really wouldn’t have very much to wear at all without adding considerably to my wardrobe. I had one pair of jeans that fit, I’d stained the last pair of trackie bottoms (I love the soft, baggy ones for slouching about in), one pair of cords, a pair of black trousers and a handful of tops that aren’t even all suitable for wearing on a casual day-to-day basis. With spring here and the, hopefully, warmer weather approaching, the situation was becoming dire. This was also the first time I'd bought brand new clothes for so long that I can't even remember the last time.
Originally LM was going to come with me but it was such a lovely day for a trip out today so, as she was working, I asked Richard if he’d come with me. Most men would balk at a clothes shopping trip with a female and that’s without being laden with the job of pushing the wheelchair around and carrying the basket that was getting heavier and heavier. And without the female in question getting herself just a tad stressed up (ok… a bit more than just a tad) because her arms hurt every time she tried to hold something up or reach for something that was just beyond how far she could comfortably stretch, but Richard didn’t complain. I did wheel myself for a while - I didn’t leave it all to him - but my arms aren’t strong enough yet for me to whiz round the way I once used to. I’m sure in many ways it was a frustrating experience for us both but I got a few things I liked and that would work with what I already have so was pleased.
I was even more pleased when Linn Marie had a look at what I’d bought though. Not only did my 20 year old daughter approve of everything I’d bought but two of the items - both summer jumpers - were met with “awww… you should have got me one of those”.
And there was me thinking I was a right old frump. Maybe there’s life in the old bird yet ;-)
I arrived safely back home on Monday evening after a hectic two weeks, went promptly to bed and stayed there until now. I was shattered. How I kept going through that fortnight is a mystery to me but I guess I was running on adrenaline or something and now that I can finally relax, it’s all caught up with me. Not to worry though, it’s just a blip. I’m still feeling a lot fitter than I was a while ago so things are definitely on the up.
Another person who’s pushing herself to her limits is Amy, a young lady who’s probably out there right now, covering the next leg of her long journey from Leeds to Cardiff. Every day for 10 days she’s walking an average of 20 miles a day in order to raise money for Link Community Development, a charity that builds schools for children in Ethiopia, Uganda, Ghana, South Africa and Malawi.
Amy came to stay with us on Wednesday night as a ‘couch surfer’. She found us through couchsurfing.com, a website designed to help travellers find free accommodation for a night or two. I originally signed up when LM was thinking of going travelling, basically just to find out what it was all about, but as being a member means I can probably help a few people by offering them a bed for the night, then so be it. Amy was my first ‘couch surfer’ to come stay and a very nice girl she is too. Very grounded, takes things as they are and asks for very little. In fact, she spent the evening in my bedroom with me, LM and Sam (a friend), perched on the end of my bed. We all shared some stories and had a good laugh though and it was 11pm before she finally dropped into the spare bed. I guess that means she enjoyed herself :)
Now 20 miles a day might not sound like an awful lot to some people but when you consider that a marathon is 26 miles, you suddenly realise that 20 miles a day for 10 consecutive days is actually quite a mammoth task. And Amy hadn’t even trained for this. In fact, she told us that the furthest she’d ever walked before was just 4 miles. Brave girl!
Amy will be going to Uganda in the summer to help build schools. A laudable thing to do, as I’m sure you’ll agree. The world could do with more people like her who are willing to actually put themselves out in order to do something to help those who are less privileged than us.
If you’d like to sponsor Amy, she has a JustGiving page at www.justgiving.com/amyleedsuganda. The minimum amount is £2 I think, but I doubt that’ll break the bank for any of us. And she really does deserve our support. After all, what’s a couple of quid compared to the blood, sweat and tears that she’ll be enduring over the next week?
After a long illness my dad finally found peace this morning.
I have to get to London somehow.
I don't know when I'll be back. Sorry.
Sharon J xx
UPDATE: Richard is taking the trouble to drive me down on Monday and then take the train back up (I need my car there in order to get around but can't drive such a long distance alone) and Carol has kindly offered me a bed for the duration as well as any extra help that my mum and I might need. I'll probably be gone a couple of weeks.
Thank you everybody for your kind wishes, both in the comments here, through emails, and on Facebook.
Lemons are said to be nature’s own cleansers - they deodorize whatever they come in contact with, cut through grease and leave their beautiful, sharp fragrance behind to add a real whiff of freshness.
Use those sunny yellow fruits to clean worktops, chopping boards, the microwave, the inside of your fridge and just about any other place that needs cleaning and deodorizing.
Just cut a lemon in half and gently wipe it over the surface of whatever needs cleaning then wipe dry with a clean cloth. Throw the rind in the waste bin to help kill off any nasty smells there.
To clean a microwave, just pop a slice or two of lemon in a glass of water, zap in the micro for 30 seconds on the highest setting then clean off any loose residue with a barely damp cloth.
To dust and polish wooden furniture, just add a little olive oil to some lemon juice (just enough oil to give it a better polishing consistency) then use as you would any other wood furniture polish. It not only smells better than those spray polishes, it’s far better for the environment too.
Even ink stains can be removed with lemon juice so next time that pen in your top pocket leaks, just dip the effected area in lemon juice for about 15 minutes then wash as you normally would (using environmentally friendly washing detergent, of course).
And then, when you’ve finished your housework for the day, pop a slice of lemon in a glass of Cinzano and lemonade and just chill. Well it works for me.
Are there daffodils blooming in your garden now? Or along country lanes, in parks, or maybe in your neighbour's front garden?
There are a good few beautiful golden blooms smiling at me from the garden these days and the miniature daffodils in the front are budded and ready to go any day now.
I don't think there's anything that lifts my spirits quite as much as seeing the daffodils bloom in spring. To me, it's the first major sign that the rebirth of nature has started and soon everything else will start to follow. The birds will be singing their crazy love songs, the trees will be budding and the insects will start to crawl out from their winter hideaways. Badgers, hedgehogs and other hibernating creatures will emerge from their long period of winter sleep and the sun will just keep getting stronger.
I had a lovely day yesterday, which is quite strange considering I had to take an urgent trip up to Manchester, to the specialist unit at Salford Royal.
I have to admit that I woke up dreading the day ahead of me. I hauled myself off the sofa, where I’ve been sleeping for the past two months, knowing that the clinic I’d been called to on Monday would undoubtedly leave me feeling exhausted and sat myself at my set-up trolley (the place where I lay out my aseptic medical equipment in order to deal with my IV feeding line) and proceeded to get myself ‘unhooked’. All was going well until I had to flush the line through with saline, at which point the darned thing burst. Yes, it burst. Saline sprayed all over me and for a moment I sat there wondering what on earth had happened. Just as well I already had to go the hospital as that would definitely need dealing with pronto.
By this time I wasn’t feeling too upbeat about the day ahead. On the contrary, my mind was full of negative thoughts and the dread started to really build up in me. But I ‘pulled myself together’ and decided that thinking negatively wouldn’t help anything and would almost certainly make the day worse and that some positive thought was needed instead. I thought about how blessed I am to still be in a position to enjoy the things I’m still able to do - just 25 years ago they wouldn’t even have been able to save my life let alone keep me alive through artificial nutrition pumped directly into my blood.
Anyway, I got myself dressed for the first time since Boxing Day and although just doing that sapped my energy considerably (I’ve been suffering from lack of potassium, something that REALLY depletes your energy and can be life threatening) it felt good to be looking more or less normal again. I couldn’t have a bath or wash my hair though - the former because I can’t actually get in and out of the bath and the latter because I can’t get up the stairs to the bathroom anyway - so still felt I looked a bit bag ladyish but I’d just have to hope the neighbours didn’t see me and deal with it. In fact, when I checked in the mirror, my hair didn’t look tooooo bad considering, but it does need a bloody good cut.
Richard, with whom I’m now on talking terms but not in a sense where we’ll ever be a couple again, drove me to the hospital and just being out, seeing the world again, had me feeling as though I’d just escaped prison. It had been so long since I’d been out that I was actually starting to forget what ‘outside’ looked like. And although it was a rainy day that didn’t matter - even the rain looked and felt good.
Clinic went ok - there was a lot of waiting around as usual but we got chatting to a few other patients who suffer from the same condition as I do and although it’s sad that so many people have had their lives changed in this way, it does help to know that others are up against the same kind of problems and hear how they deal with things, or not, whatever the case may be.
I also had my line fixed. That was a fiddly job but the nurse was lovely and everything went as it should. My line’s a little longer now and will therefore be bulkier beneath my clothes but what the heck, it keeps me alive! That line is as important to me as my heart is.
Three hours after arriving we left the hospital again and headed back to Crewe and a pub where we knew we could grab a cheap but decent meal. Unfortunately, halfway through the meal my energy deserted me and I just wanted to go home. I started getting cold and I was shivering badly - always a sign that I need sleep - so we headed back to my house, Richard saw me in and picked up a few bits he’d left behind when we split, and I crawled back on to the sofa, pulled the duvet over me and slept soundly for three hours. I don’t even remember my daughter talking to me, I was out for the count within minutes.
When I woke again it was dark and I was alone. My daughter came down for a chat, then I read for a while, had a quick look on eBay and then settled myself down for the night. Again, I slept soundly until eight this morning.
Going out yesterday restored my faith in that I will get over this blip - I just need to keep exercising (I have a pedlar and dumbbells that I use daily to help build up my muscle mass again) and keep thinking positively.
My next goal is to visit the hairdresser and get a bit more self-esteem back. I’m hoping I’ll have done that by the end of the month.
Positive thought is powerful. Like attracts like so by thinking good thoughts we're more likely to attract good things into our lives making even the days we dread the most just that bit more bearable.