Two weeks to go…

Yes, I’m nearly there. Nearly at the start line of my first event. 2 exactly yesterday in fact is event number 1, the Exmouth triathlon, then exactly a week later, the Great West run half marathon, which I hope to complete using my normal everyday wheelchair. So, a few weeks have passed since my last post. My wife and I drove the great West run route. Shocked doesn’t even cover it. It was said to be relatively flat! It definitely is not. But I’m glad I knew in advance to get some hill work in. There are 5 very long, very steep hills, that would require standing if cycling up… (gives you an idea of how steep they are!). The worst being University hill past Exeter University. It scared me… But since then I’ve managed to get up an equally long and difficult hill, without too much trouble, so my confidence is not too bad!

Hill training (photos never do justice to the angle!!)

Along with this, I’ve been getting out there on my handbike and of course, swimming. This has been rather tricky, I must say, as I’ve had to relearn how to swim with one leg. I’ve found that I can’t kick at all, as this sets stumpey off in a shivering tangent, which closely follows my sinking, coughing and spluttering!! (Rather embarrassing). So, I’ve had to learn to swim with just arms, and tbh, I’m still learning. So the Triathlon will be a very hard event for me. But I’m super excited.

Getting out on the handbike.

Last week, and this weekend has probably been the most difficult in terms of training, and acceptance when I can’t. I’ve been suffering a huge increase in pain in my stump. Thus followed an appointment with my amazing consultant Miss Tania Cubison. The result being that she thinks there is a problem with another nerve in my leg, and I need to go to East Grinstead again, for an ultrasound and nerve block. So, the pain has been hindering training for a few days. Then I managed to get in a good long wheel, in my fastest time ever, but then my body decided to have a fibro flare, which I’m in day 2 of now! Blooming bad timing as always! If only we could predict these things! I’m hoping that because it’s now, it won’t be when the event is?!

My fibromyalgia, like many other people’s is triggers by a few specific things. Hormone changes is a big one, so being female is a pain. Then there’s smells, hair spray, and cigarette smoke are the worst. Also, stress, so again specific times of the month are against me. For almost 2 weeks straight or sometimes longer, I battle against pmdd, fibro and crps simultaneously! (My poor wife is a Saint!). I train every day that I can, and every opportunity I can. It is hard. It is annoying. But I can’t give in. I met a man out the other day, who asked if I was training for something. I told him what I was doing, and immediately he told me it wasn’t possible (apparently because he hadn’t done it, and he had done EVERYTHING!) And that I was stupid to be event trying to do a half marathon using a normal wheelchair, let alone a full marathon. Well, I was left firstly annoyed, then upset, but now it just makes me want to push through stronger. I told him that not many women have done what I’m doing and I’m hoping to set a world record. His answer was that no one has done it because its stupid! (Thanks for the support!!) But then I suppose you have to expect some people not being supportive. I have the support of blesma, my wife and a couple of online friends. They really carry me through.

Medals collected so far during training and my last good wheel.

So, as for the time being, I’m stuck convalescing on the sofa. Better than yesterday where I barely woke all day (typical fibro!). I’m hoping that I may be able to swim later, but if not, I have to accept that these days happen, and the more I fight, the longer they last. This is the most difficult part for me. Not the training, or the agony of training. It’s my body not letting me train when I want to. Or the looming possibility of more treatment, which could get in the way of it all. The negative people I have encountered are annoying, but I try (now) not to let them get to me. Just prove them wrong! ๐Ÿ˜‰

So, fingers crossed ๐Ÿคž and toes! I hope to be fighting fit for my first event, and hope that all goes to plan. That’s all I can do… hope, and keep listening to my body.

Truth about training with chronic pain conditions…

When I began this blog a few years ago, I wanted to tell my story of what my new life was like as a below knee amputee. It then began to converge into a blog about having crps again, and the changes that meant for my life. Along the way, I hoped to inspire and help others suffering with the same and similar conditions, that being disabled isn’t the end of the world. It doesn’t have to be. Yes we all get really bad days. I’m having one today. But the main focus of this was to be brutally honest about what my new life is like. Somewhere along the way I have listened to too many people who have directed me away from honesty, and told me to mute the bad bits, because people don’t want to hear about what it’s truly like to suffer these conditions, and the only people who do know, are the ones who are actually suffering them. But now I want to put a stop to this. I figure, if people want a sugar coated version, then they won’t read this. The truth is, these conditions suck big time. My life has be devastated in so many ways since my diagnosis, then amputation, then rediagnosis, and then getting fibromyalgia on top. I have lost my job as an NHS nurse. I have been bullied by people I called friends, I have lost friends. I have suffered years of discrimination and been called a pain med junkie by the people I used to work around. I have suffered so much indignity, that I can’t remember what dignity is. Yet through all of this, I have realised some important things. My wife, is the most incredible person I have ever met. She has stuck by my side through thick and thin. When pain is at its worst, she is there. When I’m almost screaming, and crying, and talking about ending it all, she makes me laugh and reminds me how much I have to live for.

I know I’m not alone in all of this. There are so many people out there like me. We don’t talk about how we battle every day just to make it through. We don’t say when we have to cancel appointments and dates with friends that every time it chips away at your very soul. We don’t say when we want someone to bash us over the head with a very large bat, just to make the pain go away for a moment! Because it never does. Not ever. Not for one second. I live in a constant 8/10 pain score. As do so many others with CRPS. Then there’s the fibromyalgia, which pops up when you least want it to to add to the pain. Along with it is debilitating lethargy, nausea, migranes and generally feeling like you have the flu. So, yep it all sux.

Yet again, through all of this I have found some amazing things, and people along the way. I have made some wonderful friends, some even part of this blog. I have 1 friend who has truly stuck by my side throughout all of this, and she is wonderful. But other than that I have found a love of writing, and am still working through the edit of my 1st novel. I have found a way to adapt the sports I love, and manage to do them in a different way.

Yesterday I wheeled my furthest yet, almost 12 miles, in an hour and a half using my normal everyday wheelchair. Well on the way yo my first half marathon (yippee!!). Ahead of schedule. The bit you don’t see is today, laying on the sofa, unable to move. In agony, with a sick bowel by my side. I’ve been like this all day. Only now is the first time I could sit up. I’ve had cold packs on my head, heat packs on my neck, legs and stump. I’ve been sobbing, and feeling sorry for myself, and feeling so guilty because I had to miss my swimming session. But that is the nature of these illnesses. You have to take the good with the bad. You have to learn to appreciate every good day, and hope to God that they fall on those days that you need them the most.

Yesterday (top) & today (bottom!)

So, there you have it. I will be speaking out, and telling the truth. I don’t want to hide anymore and pretend that life is easy, because it isn’t, for anyone. Those without any medical problems suffer. Everyone does. We all have our struggles. In this digital age, it is cool to seem happy and perfect all of the time, but no one is. We all have problems, and life is hard. So speak out. Don’t be afraid to tell people that things aren’t always perfect. Own it. We are all human after all. And let’s face it, perfect is kinda boring!! ๐Ÿ‘Œ

2022 here we come…

Yes we see 2 weeks in to 2022. So it’s a bit late to say ‘happy new year’, but I’ve said it anyway. For the past couple of weeks I have been suffering a bit. One of those things that people with crps and fibromyalgia can’t control! So it’s taken me a bit of time to writs my ode to 2021! At the moment, I’m laying on my sofa, still suffering a flare of fibromyalgia, so please bear with me if my writing is gobbledegook!

2021 in photos

So, 2021… What can I say? It was a difficult one. It began for me on new years day heartbroken, as just a few hours before I lost my sister, Linda. I had not seen her in a very long time, and because of covid, didn’t get to say goodbye either, which was very tough. Then things looked up a bit with the booking of my TMR surgery. However, the actual surgery was very difficult, and I was in hospital for a month trying to get the pain under control. But eventually, and thanks to an amazing team at East Grinstead hospital, we did, and I got home. Then almost immediately came the access in my hamstring, and the diabolical treatment at the very hospital I had worked in for almost 20 years, the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital. I was left in a bed for 17 hours in agony. Had my pain medication stolen from my bag, by a nurse when I was in the bathroom. I ended up discharging myself after receiving no treatment at all. A few days later a huge access was found in my leg and I was suffering with sepsis. It was only thanks to my amazing gp that I’m still here at all.

So I eventually recovered from that, and sadly had to retire as an NHS registered nurse. I qualified a few months before meeting my wife. So had been a nurse for 15 years. I loved the nursing side of things, especially my time in theatres. I am a very technically minded person, so found it absolutely fascinating. I met some lovely people, and got along with the Dr’s very well. On my exit interview, with a nurse and friend, she saw how upset I was and said ‘you will always be a nurse’. A phrase I will hold deer. ๐Ÿ’”

My early days as a theatre nurse

I was also diagnosed with Fibromyalgia later on in the year, which was not a surprise. But it is rather annoying. It gets in the way of my life in a different to crps. I end up not being able to move for days on end…and for someone like me, who never stops doing stuff, it is a cruel and unusual punishment. Bit it is just another battle that must be fought.

The good bits… I have been out wheeling lots, and managed to complete the blesma 11k, and Mt Everest (virtually). I also wrote the first and second draft of my novel. I am still editing it to try to get it to where I want it to be, and soon will be sending it off to a professional to sort it out, so that I may stand a chance of someone taking it on!

So what’s next? This year I have lots of plans. Finishing my book, and good willing, getting it published is my biggest goal (fitness aside!). Also, I’m working on my usual entry for wildlife artist of the year. I’ve got a few more paintings in a gallery now, which is brilliant.

A few of my more recent drawings using pastel pencil.

Fitness wise! Well, there’s lots. My wife and I began on the 1st of January doing the blesma 90 sit ups a day challenge. Which we have done everyday, and will continue. I have also began my virtual wheel to Mt Fuji, of which I am half way through. I’ve also entered the following: The Exmouth triathlon on 15th May, The great West run half marathon on 22nd May, The Bridgewater half marathon on 04th September, The Goodwood marathon on 25th September, and am still hoping Blesma will let me join their team to do the London marathon on the 02nd of October. Also I am hoping to complete a few marathon distance virtual races along the way. All of which will be raising money for Blesma.

January so far…

So, although January hasn’t got off to the best start, it could be worse. Plus, when you have crps and fibromyalgia, you learn to take everyday as it comes. It isn’t easy, and I’m still learning to be patient with myself. I get very frustrated when my body doesn’t behave in a way I want it too, but I will keep trying. I hope that I get to achieve all the go’s I’ve set myself this year, and will keep plugging away. I’m also hoping that the pain from the TMR surgery will lessen, so I can wear a leg for a few minutes more. I can only wear it a few minutes a day, when my leg is behaving at the moment. Which is great, but I could do better! I am very hopeful for 2022. I hope all my friends have a wonderful, healthy and happy new year.

Finished Everest, then all went down hill…

So, yep, I finished the Everest challenge. I set myself 3 weeks, but managed to finish it in 9 days. I am so happy that I immediately signed up for the next one, Mt Fuji. Yet, my body had other ideas. Apparently it has been telling me ever since that I’ve overdone it and now it won’t to anything I want it to. I have a huge list of things which need doing before Christmas, and I’m stuck on the sofa! Fibromyalgia flares and CRPS flares are ruling the days!

My last wheel of the Everest challenge

This is probably the worst thing for me. I’m not one who likes to sit and do nothing, or copes with it at all. I’m used to the crps flares. When these happen the pain is so intense that I don’t notice the world. Yet this new fibromyalgia thing is worse in a way. The pain is manageable, but only because the crps is so severe, that nothing else comes close. Its the nausea, the brain fog, the extreme tiredness and lethargy that I find impossible. Today, I hope to take my boxes to cats protection and little valley animal shelter. A thing I do every year. I put together boxes for the cats for Christmas. I can’t stand the thought of them having nothing on Christmas day, as well as having no home. I would give them all a home if I could. But because of my stupid illnesses I couldn’t take them. I’m hoping that I will be able to do it tomorrow. But I said I’d be there today… I have to change things, and rearrange things, and it’s torture. Anyone with these conditions will tell you. But there is literally nothing I can do to stop it, other than wait for it to pass, and hope it does so, in time for Christmas.

Boxes all ready for the puddy cats ๐Ÿˆ

I’m one of those people who believes that christmas is all about tradition. We have lots in our house. As well as the boxes for the cats, we take some chocolates to age concern. We like to spend the lead up to Christmas turning our home into Santa’s grotto. I make gluten free brownies and banoffee pie (my favourite). We buy far too much cheese. ๐Ÿ˜‹ I love to wrap presents and find the perfect gift for people. My mum loved Christmas, and I guess I got that gene!!

My tree, which I love, and my beautiful snowflake made by my good friend Maggie, next to our dedication to our boy, Winkeypoo โค

So, what do you do when these stupid conditions treated to ruin it all? I honestly don’t know? But I’m hoping that they won’t. I’m hoping for a bit of good luck. ๐Ÿคž. Our little family hasn’t has much of it this year… Maybe now it will be our turn? But I did wheel to everest (virtually) so that was awesome ๐Ÿ‘Œ

Slowly does it…

Exactly as it says, slowly does it! I am finally getting back out there. I have managed three wheeling sessions, two handcycles, and three swims with gym, in 4 weeks. Not as good as I had hoped, bit also better than nothing! The post surgery TMR pain is now in full swing. At least I hope that is what I am experiencing, and there is nothing worse around the corner. All I can say is, omg… When my lovely surgeon told me to expect 6-12 months of he’ll, she wasn’t kidding. It’s like targeted crps flares. Basically like I’m being stabbed by a red hot poker. It can go on for minutes, but more often than not, it seems to be days. The worst part is that nothing helps. The boiling hot heat packs help with the crps flares, but they don’t seem to help with this new pain. So I have to wait until it goes! Pretty annoying. But, hopefully it will be over within the alloted time period? Fingers crossed for the lesser ๐Ÿคž.

A successful wheel…

So, also, I’ve been privileged to take part in an article for Blesma magazine on TMR surgery. They have followed me through my surgery, and after. Should be fun to read. Not sure when it will be out, hopefully in the next one.

I must say, I will be glad when things are looking up a bit more. Although I know better times should be coming, I’m getting a little inpatient. There is so much of life I wish to experience, and so much of it depends on pain levels, and the predictability of flare ups. It is rather annoying, having to cancel things all the time. Having to cancel dates with friends, general appointments, and I’m yet to start at the track because I had a flare before my first session last week, which was so upsetting. ๐Ÿ˜ข. I can’t wait to start. Maybe even compete one day? Who knows?

Come on! Let me train!!!

Well, as you may guess, I’m starting to go a little stir crazy! This infection is relentless. I’m now on another type of antibiotic, Co-amoxiclav. The Flucloxacillin ran out the other day. It was very strange. I went to bed feeling a bit better. Then by lunch time the next day, after not having any antibiotics, I was back to feeling awful again. My heartrate was over 100 again, known as Tachycardia. I felt extremely tired, to the point that I couldn’t stay awake. I felt very sick and had no appetite at all. I also felt quite shakey. I had no temperature, but have not had a significant temperature (pyrexia) throughout the whole period of my illness. There is a common misconception that you have to have a temperature to have an infection or sepsis. My consultant said he thought I was septic when I finally received IV antibiotics. There is such a thing as hot sepsis, where you have a temperature (a temperature above 37.6) and cold sepsis, where your temperature is normal or below. Normal is different for everyone, but in general the normal range is 36-37 degrees. I am normally 36-36.5 when I’m well, so I know if I’m at 37.5 I’m usually not too well. We’ll my temp was a bit up bit not into the 38 plusses, which is where worrying begins. So at first they just focused on that. Until they finally realised that my other observations, like high heartrate (over 100 bpm) and low blood pressure was telling a story. Normal blood pressure is 120/80. Low is considered 90/60 or below. High is considered to be 140/90 or above. Mine was 60/40 at one point. My heartrate was 140-160 at rest, whilst laying in a bed. So there was no doubt I had a problem.

So, observation lesson over, I was basically feeling rubbish again. I decided to try 111 first before going to A&E, hoping to speak to an on call Dr. I spent over an hour with the phone on hold, and eventually gave up. So we were off to A&E again. We’ll bloods were taken and my platelets were high, my red blood count was low, and my crp was up. All showing infection. So I started on antibiotics again! The next day I felt a little better. Then on Monday these ran out and I fortunately spoke to a great GP at my local Dr surgery who decided to try another one. So here we are. Awaiting more blood results today! But still feeling rubbish to be honest.

Me training!

So here I am. Still feeling to rubbish to train. We now have access to a new pool and gym. My wifey, who is amazing joined us up to David Lloyd whilst I was in hospital, as she knew how desperate I was to swim again, and start training for a Triathlon. So now I’m at home, my handbike now accessible, my wheelchair itching to get going, the new pool and gym waiting for me…and I’m still stuck to the sofa. Finding it difficult to eat more than a bowl of cereal and a piece of toast in a day. My muscle mass is deteriating, and I’m feeling absolutely rubbish. No energy at all. Then I’ve been sat watching the Olympics, which makes me want to train more than ever. I want to do my half marathon, but now I know I can’t. I want to do a marathon. I want to start training to do Triathlons. Hopefully one day an Iron-man. I have so many ambitions, and yet being glued to the sofa, is not one of them! It is quite depressing to be honest. I’m not too patient at waiting to do things I love! I just wish this infection would listen to me, and GO AWAY!!!

So for now, it’s fingers crossed. Try to eat, and be patient ๐Ÿคฃ. One day I will be back out there…and that day will be amazing!!

So good to be home.

I’m home, as you may have guessed from the title. I finally made it home at 7pm on Tuesday. I think it was probably the longest discharge in history! Saw the Dr’s o Tuesday Morning at approximately 9am. They said they’d have me ready for lunch time!!! My wife made her way after work at 2pm. I ended up sending her home before she even made it to the hospital, knowing I was nowhere near discharge. I had gotten myself dressed, and my bag was packed. By 3pm I gave up, and my pyjamas were back on!! ๐Ÿคฃ My wife then remade her way at 5pm, as we were told that things were ready! At 7pm finally I was discharged. I waited 10 hours for a discharge letter and a few tablets! But, to be honest, I didn’t care. By the time I got through my front door, and into my pyjamas again, and was cuddling my little Lily, nothing else mattered.

Cuddling my little Lily ๐Ÿ’™

My experience on Wynard ward was thankfully very different to the disastrous 13 hours on AMU. All of the staff were lovely. I had a fantastic student, and I wish I remembered her name, (I’ve always been useless with names!), but she was incredible for her level. She’s only a few weeks away from qualifying, and I’ve met nurses who have been qualified for years who don’t sho her professionalsm, level of caring or expertise. She will make a fantastic nurse. I do know she had a job already, and will be mentored in it by my best friend from university, which is amazing. The Nurses were all lovely. The endless cannula attempts. I think I counted 24 attempts in total! My veins completely gave up, and ran for the hills!!

I am still a little weak, and on antibiotics. Am very much looking forward to getting back to training. My lovely wife joined David Lloyd whilst I was in hospital, so I can swim again. In a pool which will not be overcrowded. It also has a handbike in the gym. I’m hoping to do my first swim on Saturday, all being well. I’m also going through classification for Triathlon for next year. There’s one in May which I’d like to do. As for my half marathon on the 5th of September! I’m going to have to see how I get on with training. I’m desperate to do it, but I know I’ve been through alot in the past 6 weeks, so have to build up slowly, and accept it if I can’t do it. I will find another to do instead! So for now, I’m trying my best to eat when I can, and stretching. The antibiotics make appetite a challenge, and make me very nautious, so the only thing I can stomach at the moment is toast, cereal and midget gems!! Not the best diet for fitness!!! But again, I’m home…. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

And I’m in again….

So, it’s been a few weeks. Finally made it home on the 19th of July from East Grinstead QVH hospital. They were incredible. Their treatment and kindness blew me away. Unfortunately on discharge, and just before I started having pain in the back of my leg where the nerve catheter was situated. We hoped it was just bruising and swelling from the sheer quantity of fluid that had gone into my leg. So after a couple of days at home, the pain got worse, and a tennis ball sized lump started to form in my hamstring (muscle in the upper back of your leg). I couldn’t sit on it, or even touch it. Systematically I also wasn’t doing too well. My heartrate was permanently over 100bpm which is known in the profession as Tachycardia, and my blood pressure was very low. These are all signs of infection. After a few days I put through an econsult with my gp. I was told they would phone between 1-6 on the Friday, but no one called. By 8pm the pain was so unbearable that we made the decision to go to A&E.

Me in A&E. Not looking too happy!

So after a bit of a wait I was trialed, and seen by a lovely Dr, who said I had to be admitted. They were very busy, and I was told that when I got to AMU, which is an emergency ward, I would be given pain relief, and they would scan my leg or do an ultrasound, and would be started on antibiotics. She reassured that they would get to the bottom of it. Well, none of this happened. I spent over 12 hours in a bed begging for pain relief, and no one would listen. Not only that, but they took my own medication from my bag, without my knowledge when I was in the bathroom. I have a chronic pain condition, and can’t go without my usual medication, and they wouldn’t even give me those. They did no tests, gave no treatment, and basically ignored me completely. I asked why, and was told they were busy. There were 5 other people in my bay and all 5 relieved treatment. Yet I was treated like I was a junkie asking for meds. They made a judgement and that was that. It wasn’t until 13 hours when I had asked repeatedly to speak to the ward manager that she showed up. She was lovely, and had no idea of what I was suffering. She immediately gave me my own medication back and I told her I wanted to go home. The crps was out of control by that point. I was briefly seen by a Dr, and despite the overwhelming symptoms pointing towards an infection, he refused antibiotics. Over the weekend I deteriorated further. I saw my gp on the Monday, who said I needed immediate treatment. But I had to go back to the same place. Well I just broke down. I couldn’t bear to be treated that way again. But she was amazing and spoke to the manager. Told her what had happened, and asked if I could be seen in the other part of the ward. So I was. There I had an ultrasound where they found a large sack filled with fluid inside my muscle. I was started on antibiotics and let home with an appointment for a scan the next day. I had my scan which showed a huge amount of swelling and a large fluid filled sack. The next day I was admitted for treatment. I ended up on the sister ward of amu and they were much nicer. I ended up being moved to Wynard ward where they’ve been wonderful. I had the lump drained by an amazing consultant in radiology. It was filled with what he called, pea soup… lovely puss. He took one look at my observations and said that I was septic. I was immediately started on IV antibiotics and oral antibiotics… and here we are. They know there is stafflococcus in my leg, but not sure as yet if its the MRSA (MRSAย is aย type ofย bacteria that’s resistant to several widely used antibiotics. This means infections with MRSA can be harder to treat than other bacterial infections) or another type. So I’m in isolation just incase, and awaiting news from microbiology, hopefully tomorrow.

Me on the ward…

They have been lovely on this ward. All the nurses and Dr’s have been fantastic. My veins are all rather rubbish now, so if my antibiotics need to continue longer, I may need a more permanent solution, like a long line or central line. Pretty scary stuff to be honest. So now I’m just waiting for news. Crossing all fingers that I can go home soon, and finally be on the road to recovery. The access and infection are a very rare complication of having a nerve catheter. So of course, being the Queen of rarities, it was bound to happen to me ๐Ÿคฃ. Still, onwards and hopefully upwards. I’m busy watching Nurse Jackie box set, and my wonderful wifey has been to see me every day, so can’t grumble too much. The TMR surgical wound is so neat and I think it’s already helping. So, hopefully good news for tomorrow ๐Ÿคž

Indignity!!

So, right now I’m sat in the waiting room of the accident and emergency department in Exeter. I was bought in by ambulance earlier (will sat why in a minute!). Now I have been wheeled on a hospital wheelchair, one with no chance at self propulsion, into a waiting room, on my own, and I’m dying for the loo!!! I never wanted to feel the way I do now. Completely useless and cast aside. I have literally been dumped. I am totally stuck, unless I crawl across the floor. My wide is at work, and although will be here at some point, I’ve now been waiting for 2 hours! Whilst sat here a number of nurses and doctors have wondered passed. I tried to get the attention of one of them, to no avail. I feel so helpless! Why would someone just dump someone like this, when they know they are immobile?

So, earlier today, I was sat drawing, as usual, on the sofa, when suddenly I had chest pain, then jaw pain, and my heart rate escalated to 206. It felt as if my heart was trying to break through my chest. I felt nauseous, light headed and short of breath. It was absolutely terrifying. I have never before thought I was going to die. Now the nurse in me went straight to impending doom, and with the symptoms it was hard not too. My mouth was dry, my fingers numbing and I was cold sweating. I thought I was having a heart attack. Now, as I’m still here, it is evident that this I not the case. I think I had a panic attack. Very strange considering I was just sat on the sofa. Last time I checked, drawing was a relaxing activity, and although I had Buffy on in the background, it is not scary enough to trigger a panic attack. So another perplexing moment!

So, the paramedics arrived, and with chest pain and a heart rate of 206, they bought me into A&E. Turns out, it was the wrong day to have an episode of any kind, as it is so busy. So, I was taken into a room, they did my blood pressure, asked a bunch of questions to which no one listened to the answer. They were too busy sorting out a drunk lady in the corridor! Next thing I knew, I was dumped in the waiting room. No explanation, no dignity, no help.

Now, I’m still sat. Needing the loo. Nowhere near a toilet, and even if I could see one, no way of getting there! I asked the paramedics to bring my chair, but they said I didn’t need it, and to be honest, at that point I felt as if I was going to pass out, so didn’t think to question it!

I had the pleasantries of two children noticing my lack of leg, who proceeded to amuse themselves greatly with gears of disgust! Not that things like that bother me, because they don’t. They’re just curious, but when your feeling like a lesser human, the last thing you want, is any attention drawn to you. I just want to go home! My wife suggested on the phone, to self discharge. Good idea, but how? I can’t go anywhere. I’m totally stuck!!!

I never want to feel like this again! Not ever. I just want to go home, and have the dignity of being able to go to the toilet before it’s too late! Yet, I can’t, not until my wife can finally get here, if they let her in!

Happy times…

A few months ago; at college; in my English lesson, my teacher asked us to write a piece of creative writing about a time when we were happy. Usually my assignments have followed a similar path of 19th century crime; but this time I decided to use my own experience and share one of my happiest times. So I thought I would also share this with you. So this is a short story of my happiest times, by me; Lexi Alyx Chambers.

When you dream at night; or even have an afternoon daydream; what is it you dream of? For me, itโ€™s simple – running. The feel of running along soft sand, dampened by the early morning tide.

I used to run at the first blush of each morning. From one end of the ocean front to the other, and back; in one continuous unbroken effort; culminating in a charge up and down the rolling dunes. 

Years previous, I would have balked at the idea of running so far, so often; but at the time, I relished the prospect. Donning my ritualistic combination of runners apparel. My Asics Gel running shoes, and double layered, hyper-absorbent 1000 mile socks. My favoured, somewhat garish shorts made from tangerine coloured shell suit material; lightweight and easy to run in; although unfortunately rather decadent of 80โ€™s fashion. More of a reminder; a level of familiarity to where it all began.

Thick beads of sweat would drip down my face; leaving a salty sting as they dampened my eyes; leaving behind a salty taste of the sea. My gate, almost silent; as my shoes kissed the sand beneath. Each step became miles; which passed in a wonderful, exhilarating blur. Movements so often practiced that they had become an automatic sense of perfection.

Some like to listen to music, traveling to the beat of an inspirational tune. I loved to run and think. Daydream of a better life. If only I had known back then; that I was already living it!

Each delightful morning would follow the same trajectory, culminating in roosting upon the ridge of the tallest dune. I would kick off my tight, suffocating running shoes and peel of my nasty socks dampened by the lather of my run. Feeling the morning breeze caressing my face; my feet; slowly drying the beads of effort from my expelled energy. Breathing in the salty flora; that fragrance which conjures a sense of delight, of peace, or joy to soothe the soul. The light would rise upon the horizon. A gift to anyone who dared to open their eyes to see the world awaken. Growing brighter with every passing moment; welcoming a brand new day.

Walking forward from the hills; the large masses of sand formed by aeolian processes. From the ridge of energy; standing to feel the steady warmth from the crystalline blanket of white. A million molecules of muted earth beads, massaging and exfoliating my weary feet; whilst sinking between my toes.

I would make my way to the darker hue of sand; dampened by the morning tide. The cool water soaked sediments relieving the heat. Waves crashing upon the shore with a soft hiss. Retreating slowly; inhaling. Then peeling away and reworking sediments; exhaling; spewing the torrents in an undulating surge and swell of the tide. As if the earth itself were breathing.

There stood I. Alone, content. Barefoot upon the sand. Breathing deeply the ocean carried air. Miles of dune fields amidst vacant pearl and copper sand. Hypnotised by the percussion, rhythm and steady roar of breaking waves. Feeling the cool breeze, within the pallet of colours, which grew brighter; dappling the sky; imparting their warmth, and comforting my tired sensibility. Hearing the happiness within, without uttering a word. Lost within the atmosphere; within my thoughts.

I was yet to find that life would decide to augment itself, with a lesson which I am yet to fathom. I was to learn a cruel sense of irony; to have surgery for pain in my foot; caused by the very thing I loved most; running. Only for the very thing which was supposed to be my cure; meaning the end of running for me. The multitude of surgeries were supposed to get me back there; back to running; albeit with the assistance of a carbon fibre half-leg, to replace the obsolete one which I was born with. Now, over a year later, I could not be further away.

At first my dreams felt shattered, but if the very activity I dream of taught me anything, it was to never give up. So although my dream will always be to run along the sand, and feel the cool water upon my feet / foot. Temporarily, I shall embrace the reality of my racing wheels, replacing my running legs; racing from afar, upon the beachfront.

The simplicity of running taught me about life. Every little thing can be broken down into one step at a time. If you look ahead at the whole journey, you remain lost in its longevity; but if you just take that first step, you never know how far you will be able to travel. It let me escape reality and gave me a focus to give everything my all. The past which I took for granted, has now become the dream which I long for. But for the time which I had it, I was happy.