My Dad and Step Mum came up from Bournemouth on Sunday to Andrea and Lara’s house so they could see me. I can get in to Andrea’s car but my Dad’s is too high and so Andrea came to get me and take me to her place where I would meet up with Dad. She called me to let me know that she was outside but after ten minutes or so she came in as I had not emerged from the Spinal Centre. An older Gentleman had started to talk to me, I naturally and politely spoke with him and then he started to really open up and explain to me what had happened to him, of his own accord with no prompting or asking. He asked several questions but did not require answers, they were more of a “Why do…”, “Why can’t…”, “What if…” type questions in quick succession. I spoke to him honestly and tried to do what I could to offer some comfort but without giving false hope. It was humbling to see someone opening up in such a way to a complete stranger and feeling comfortable enough not only to talk but to show emotion, welling up but I did not manage to get him to shed his obvious tears. I felt bad for having to wind the conversation down but he did ask if I was going out for the day and so I did tell him that I was. I did not deliberately close or end the conversation, the Gentleman did this by suggesting that we would maybe talk later. He thanked me for the chat and then left the room. Andrea and I left the room also and went to her car and headed to her house. Before we got to her place she drove me in to town as I needed to do some personal admin shopping, we chose to go in to town straight away as the weather was ok and not raining. As I had to go to the top end of the town I did not really want to make the trip in the rain, but as the weather was at that moment being kind I took full advantage and did the shopping then. With this done it was off to her place. On the way we saw Dad, My Step Mum and Lara taking `Jake` for a walk in the park area just down from the house and so Andrea got me out of the car and I `st-rolled` back to the house with them. The reason for going to Andrea and Lara’s place was because they had cooked a roast meal for us to enjoy, but this meant also that there would be a glass of wine….or three….and a glass of Gin and Lilt….or two….or three….or possibly more! The meal was beautiful, I hate to admit it but Andrea seems to be a bit of a chef where the roast meal is concerned but I was very good and only had one helping of the food even though I could easily have eaten a lot more, but I have to try to keep the circumference at bay!
We stayed chatting after the meal, and Andrea made me a “Cup-of-tea-no”. As I am off of the coffee due to me needing to have sugar in it, I cannot have a cappuccino which I really like, and so I had a cup of tea with the sprinkles on hence a “Cup-of-tea-no”. Take my advice on this one and don’t have one because it really does need the coffee to pull of the whole sprinkle thing! Eventually the time arrived for us to get me back to the Spinal Centre, not because I was on a curfew but because Dad and my Step Mum had a long drive back to Bournemouth and wanted to come and see the place where I was finally getting some help. Andrea dropped me off and I showed my guests around the Spinal Centre starting with the room I was staying in and then progressing to the gym and the Hydrotherapy area, completing the `tour` by showing them the Sports centre and then ending at the main entrance where after a bit more of a chat, we said our goodbyes and they headed off. I was absolutely shattered and so after putting my items away I got in to bed for an early night, I was absolutely knackered and knew that with this being my last few days, I had to be on top of my game and make the absolute most of the sessions before my discharge at the end of the week. For this I needed to be fresh and well rested and despite it being only ten minutes to nine in the evening, I went to bed. I must have dropped straight off to sleep but woke at around half past eleven; I didn’t feel tired which was strange. It was almost like I had just had a full night’s sleep which I obviously had not. To try to drop back off to sleep I turned the television on which obviously worked as the next time I saw was ten minutes to six in the morning.
I woke in absolute agony. I had obviously managed to roll on to my right side in the night during my sleep which is impressive, what was not so impressive was that my body had rolled back on to my back but my legs had clearly been doing the `River dance` again and were not only bent at the knee as tight as they could possibly be but they had remained leaning to the right. My left hip was seriously painful but I was unable to do anything about it. I could not sit up to move them. I could not get them to spasm to try to straighten them out as they were locked in the bent position and I could not press the button on the bed to make the head end raise to allow me to reach my legs to straighten them. I had no choice but to call the nurse which I try so hard not to do and until this time, I had managed it. The nurse, Teresa came in and helped to straighten my legs but they kept kicking and trying to go back to the bent position they had been in. She tried to slow them down without actually pinning my legs down but they were a little violent to start with. After a couple of minutes she had managed to straighten them out for me and I went back to sleep. I woke just before eight o’clock, my legs still in pain but I had to ignore this as I needed to get the most from my physio session, which thankfully was not until eleven o’clock. As I was getting myself squared away there was a knock at the door, Barbara came in with a fresh jug of water for my room, and five minutes later she was back with a cup of tea for me which was lovely.
I got up and had a wash as would be the normal and took my medication, my legs seemed as though they may be calming down on the pain side of things which was good. I had a slight pain in my left wrist which I think I must have done while trying to move my legs, a strain I imagine but I don’t think it will hinder anything today. I went for some breakfast, muesli would be the fuel for this morning and of course my shot of orange juice (part of your five a day don’t you know!). Something that I seem to do a lot of here is the dishes. I hope that the patients here who are able to use their hands have dishwashers at home. There is a sign up asking that patients and visitors wash their cups and plates etc but I think that this is conveniently ignored. Because when the nurses come in to make their cup of tea for their break, they will do the items that are there while the kettle boils (because that is how long it takes; seriously), the patients feel that they have no need to do the dishes. I do them because I am able to get to the sink properly, which is easier than at home but I do them at home most of the time. I just feel that the nurses have enough to do without the dishes as well, it’s a bit disrespectful to be honest but there you go. Anyway, dishes done I went for a roll round before I eventually arrived at the spinal gym for my physio session with Jo.
I got on to the plinth and Jo put the wooden stool on the floor for me to do some more of the split level transfers that would be a continuation of what we had been doing on Friday, getting towards the floor to the chair that I am hoping to achieve. I got ready to transfer to the wooden stool, slowly does it, nice and controlled. Sorted, softly down and stable. Now for the return lift to the plinth, head down, chin tucked in ready…. No, wait, what is going on with my legs? I repositioned my legs but the left leg would repeatedly fall outwards. I moved it again and it seemed more stable, now would be the time to lift. Again I tucked my chin in as my head looked down but it still wasn’t right. With help from Jo I got up and I tried to do it using my right arm as the main lifting arm. This was a bloody disaster; my left leg would not behave and was giving me so much pain. I could not lift because as I tried the pain would kick in to my left leg, I started to get frustrated, and it started to bounce. Brilliant, now it is bouncing and it hurts like hell, stop the bouncing. Lean over the knee, bouncing more, pain is there even worse, I am now getting really angry and the spasm starts in my leg, this really hurts now and I can’t stop it. I can’t take the chance on a full blown spasm going through my entire body, keep calm, and close your eyes and deep breaths. Jo is talking to me trying to get me to calm down, “Close your eyes George, and breathe”, I try but it hurts. Good God only knows how, but Jo managed to guide and help me on to the plinth. I need to do it again, this session is one of only a few I have left and I can’t miss it, I still have things to accomplish. Spasm is in full swing now and I am in agony with my leg. I am trying so hard to stop it all but the pain is not helping and making me angrier and angrier, before I know it I am lying flat on my back like a piece of marble.
Jo tells me to just lie on my tummy and relax, stretch the legs and other muscles out and we will try again in fifteen minutes. My leg was agony, I am really good at dealing with pain but this was really testing me, I was genuinely having to fight back the tears on this one. The spinal gym was quite busy, some of the younger ones were having their physio sessions and there was no way I was going to let anyone see me shed a tear. I know I have told many people, including some people here that it is good to cry but this is not what I meant. Shedding your tears regarding the life you now find yourself in and struggles that you may have make it hard to accept and it is good for people to cry about it as I witnessed here a couple of days ago. I do not know the patients here well enough to talk to them in a way that may get the emotions to come out, but I have had a couple of patients from one end of the age scale to the other come and talk to me, and get some things out in the open. I am flattered that they should feel comfortable enough to talk in such a way to me and it makes me feel good that they are airing the worries, fears and emotions that could potentially bring them down. I really wish that I could talk to a couple of people in particular about their new lives as I am concerned but at the same time I am not a qualified councillor or psychologist but some people want to shy away from those people. It is not just the injured either; I wonder if the partners, Mothers or Fathers have accepted what has happened.
Anyway, I did manage to swallow the pain and lay still stretching the muscles in the hope that I would be able to try to do more transfers but instead Jo said that I was too wound up to do any more and that I was to stay on my front. I was pissed right off about it but ultimately I was on a hiding to nothing trying to do such a large split level transfer in the state I was in. There would be no point in me trying to do any smaller ones as if I was unable to do those then I would be getting angry about that and would simply be dragging myself down and undoing the good results I had been achieving, to that end, I stayed where I was until Jo came back and got me back in to my wheelchair ready for me to go to lunch.
After lunch I transferred in to my power chair as Andy the wheelchair wizard was going to make a couple of adjustments to my chair for me while I was on fitness and sports. I think that Kirsty may have thought I was taking the piss a little when I turned up for fitness in a power chair and so I transferred, (not too badly, but still with help), in to a sports chair. The fitness session seemed harder today even though we did not have circuits but it can only be a good thing feeling like that, I guess it means you have worked off a few pounds. With people having to leave for various reasons and others arriving it was time for…BASKETBALL! Today there were no small children playing which could only mean one thing…CARNAGE!!! I would like to say that it was a relaxing yet upbeat game but I would be telling big fat George size lies. There were hits, and slaps, legs being squeezed (the able bodied people) and ribs being poked and prodded. It was a really funny game and I can honestly say that I have not laughed like that since the Russell Howard gig on the television a few weeks ago. I think it is the first game that Josh and I have both been in sports chairs and on different teams so that was never going to end well, Josh may have fallen forward during a minor altercation and require assistance from Kirsty and Georgie to put him back on his wheels, once we knew he was ok the laughs started again. It was a really good game, again I have no idea who won and I am really not interested, the exercise was good, the heart had really been working and I had a great laugh with people who I enjoyed spending time with and that is what was and is important.
Immediately after Basketball it was Hockey. Again people had to go off for other sessions and as the weather was a bit shite, no one came down to join in, a little sad really but none the less we had a good time. Lots of passing, tackling, intercepting and scoring as there were only six of us playing. I was unable to play the entire game as I had to get back to the ward to meet Jo who would be giving me an extra physio session so as not to have wasted the one today. Unfortunately she was called to teach a lesson and so I did not get the extra session. She came to find me afterwards and apologised for her not being able to keep the appointment but I told her it was not a problem. She had tried to make an extra session and had been asked to do something else, no problem, but it was nice that she felt that she had to come and say sorry. I had another mind blowingly exciting salad for tea, so I had better have lost more weight and more importantly circumference or I am going to be a seriously unhappy bunny who may have a full deployment of Tonka toys after a serious sense of humour failure. Now though, I am writing my Blog to let you know has been going on. I will be going to bed shortly for another early night ready for the work tomorrow. Sessions are rapidly running out as is the time I have left here and I need to make sure that every second counts. As long as I can keep my spasms under control I should get the maximum out of the last few days, but every second I am waiting for them to calm down are seconds I can’t get back.