Christmas Visitors.

Yesterday we had several visitors who quite by coincidence were all at our place at the same time. Laura and Andy were down from London, Laura is a school friend of my Wife’s and Andy is her husband. They always visit when they are down visiting their own families at Christmas and various other times during the year. They never miss any of the Birthday’s and cards are always received from them, and of course Christmas presents. It is really nice that they do make a point of visiting when they are down. Because it is difficult and sometimes impossible for me to get in to the majority of our friends houses, Richard and Lisa came to ours to coincide with Laura and Andy’s visit. It was really good to be honest as it meant that we got to see both lots of friends for longer than we would have been able. As well as this my Brother, Sister in Law and three of their four kids and my Step Mother and my Dad were also there, what you could call a full house.

My Brother was sorting out a few things for me that I couldn’t do. Fixing a few things that needed fixing as well putting something together for me. My Sister in Law was chatting to him and the kids were playing. My Wife and I were talking to our other guests who were very interested in how I was progressing, if anything else had changed with regards to feeling or movement and then we spoke about my Physio sessions, massage and acupuncture. It is really nice that they ask as they are genuinely interested. After a while chatting about the aforementioned treatments they asked about the standing frame, I explained how the different straps supported me and the general principle of the frame itself but ultimately, a picture paints a thousand words and so Wifey and I decided that now would be as good a time as any for me to do my hour in it for the day.

I am unable to get in to the frame on my own and is difficult for my Wife to do it on her own and so now was the perfect time to enlist the help of my Dad. I moved to the frame in my wheelchair and Wifey started to help me in. In no time at all my Dad was helping and our friends were interested in seeing what was involved in getting me in to it. After a short spell of me slowly raising up in to the standing position and explaining what was going on in between the minor spasms, I was in the upright standing position. This was the first time that any of them had seen me standing for over a year and I would guess that the major spasms I had which were to be fair pretty bad, caught them a bit by surprise and left them unsure of what to say. It didn’t take too long before the conversation was about my spasms and how it felt, we also spoke about if I were to have heat and cold applied to my various muscles whilst standing, if it would help or cause spasms or even stop them. Ideas were thrown around and some really good and interesting conversation was had. A really enjoyable visit.

They say that all good things must come to an end, and so it was the visit by Richard and Lisa which concluded first. I told them that when things had calmed down after Christmas in the new year, we would drive to their place with the ramps that I have and see if it is possible for me to get in to their house. It makes me feel a little ignorant  as I can’t go to most of our friends houses and so they have to come to me, not something I am able to do much about at the moment but hopefully, in time as I get stronger this will change. A little while longer and it was time for Laura and Andy to move on to the next of their visits, my Brother and his clan had left as they had done the things that I needed help with and they had shopping to do. We said goodbye to Laura and Andy and then just a few minutes later my Dad and Step Mum had to commence their journey back to Bournemouth. It was properly dark by now and it would take around an hour and a half for them to get back. We said goodbye to them and then went back inside for tea.

It was quite a late night by the time we got in to bed, in fact it was actually a very early morning by the time Wifey and I got in to bed but it didn’t stop me watching a couple of episodes of NCIS, because we all know I love that programme. You should have a watch if you haven’t already and see what you think. I have no idea what time I turned the television off this morning or indeed if it was me that did, but I woke this morning ready for my appointment with my Physio. It would be at the hospital in South Petherton and I had a real feeling of excitement inside, going to a newly built hospital that specialises in helping stroke victims which had all new equipment. A fantastic opportunity that had been arranged by my home visit physiotherapist and I was really looking forward to it.

We arrived at the hospital in time for my appointment at ten this morning and the two physio’s came out to the Chucklebus to meet us. We followed them in to the room where we would be doing the exercises and they explained the ideas. The kids were with us obviously as they are on school holidays but they behaved so well just sitting and watching as I was put in to a sling that would allow me to be upright as opposed to the slings I have at home for my hoists which keep me in the sitting position. I `stood` with limited weight on my legs as the physios pushed back on my knees to keep my legs straight. It was interesting to see that when my legs spasmed, they would lock themselves straight and I could support my weight, it is just a shame that I can not turn the spasms on and off when I need to.

I spent time in the sling using the parallel bars to try to keep myself upright but of course being held up and supported with the sling. We spoke about different ideas, different exercises and various things that we would be interested to know if they would make a difference. It was a very interesting appointment and was well worth the time spent there, I am really lucky to finally have a physiotherapist who is excited about trying to help me to try different things. We left the hospital and returned to the bungalow. Despite all of the rain today, so far, the septic tank is behaving so we will have our fingers crossed it stays that way. Our neighbour has been working tirelessly to keep checking on the levels in the tank and has been using a second pump that he has been dropping in to assist in the draining of the tank to ensure as best as he can that we do not have problems over Christmas, a really nice guy who also keeps us up to date on levels and how things are going. He is very understanding of my inability to assist in the drainage of the tank and shows no inconvenience when I have to call him to let him know the levels are high.

`Pickle’s` Godmother visited this afternoon to deliver presents for the kids, we exchanged gifts and had coffees and spoke about what we had all been up to. Unfortunately `Pickle’s` Godfather had not managed to finish work early enough to come over as well but I have no doubt that we shall see them over the Christmas period for a drink or two, or three or maybe more! Time went by really quickly and so she had to go, and no sooner had she left, my kids were running the bath and talking about going to bed which is unheard of. They had their baths, got their night clothes on and had some tea and with no requirement from us to mention anything about bed they were in them. I guess the logic would be that the quicker you went to sleep, the quicker it would be Christmas day. And so with them all tucked up in bed we began wrapping some of the gifts we have for various people who we would see over Christmas, but how long would it be before the kids were up again?

So at ten thirty the three of them were awake and wanting to come and see us in the front room, headed off by Wifey they were put back to bed and told that sleep was needed, now at nearly eleven  it seems quiet, presents are about half way through being wrapped and I am nearly finished writing. I will let Wifey and the Mother in Law continue wrapping the presents while I do something equally constructive, I am going to have some of my Southern Comfort and watch a little television after which I will get in to bed and wait to see if Santa brings me anything.

I hope that you have wrapped all that you need to wrap, that you receive any presents you wished for and above all that you spend the day with people you love. Having been away on Operations with the Army in Afghanistan at Christmas, my thoughts are with the families who have loved ones serving away with whichever service from whichever Country wherever in the world. Also for those serving who can not be with their families and loved ones at this time, stay safe and enjoy as much as possible the festive period with the military brothers and sisters that you are serving with. Finally, a thought for all those who can not be with us anymore as they have passed on.

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE, sleep tight, no peeking or Santa won’t deliver!

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