Sometimes, when the thoughts and images hit you, you just have to pause and do something with them. This my friends is one such time. I should, or was, about to go and wash last nights dishes, but thoughts sprang into my head that will be forgotten about in 30 mins time, so it’s getting done now, like it or not.
Anyone who knows me and I mean REALLY knows me, also understands just what a personal hell the last 3 yrs have been. No, no, no, this is not going to be a self-pitying blog and all woe is me and my troubles are bigger than anyone elses, this is a blog of hope.
Background [try to keep it shortish and sweetish].
Up until Easter of 2008, Tino [me] had always been fit and healthy. 150 pounds, give or take a few, 32 inch waist from the age of 16 [43 in 2008] played squash twice a week, double sessions, that’s 1hr 30 both times, you gotta be fit to do that, played 5 a side soccer umpteen times a week and with my lass, walked the hills and coastlines of Northumberland most weekends. I enjoyed a meal out, who doesn’t, the odd take away, a drink or three and lived life and enjoyed life and things on Boxing Day 2007 [26th Dec] got even better when my gorgeous granddaughter was born. How could life really get much better? Nice flat [apartment] loving partner, new car, new granddaughter and a decent income allowing us to be financially secure enough to enjoy holidays and weekend breaks.
Just before Easter of 2008, I saw a few faint spots appear on my torso. They got a bit itchy and the following day a few more appeared. Hmmm, wonder what that is and thought nothing more of it really. The little one, I call her Tinkerbell, because she just is, was staying with us and we took her out for a walk to help her have an afternoon nap. It always worked. It was bloody cold and although I was well wrapped up [hill walkers are not stupid when it comes to wearing the right attire] I still felt really cold. We got back home, stripped the winter wear off and I just didn’t feel right. Phone the Doc, go see him and see whats wrong. Next day, saw doc, Chickenpox! at 43! Go home, rest, put ya feet up and have a week off work. I am more than willing to oblige.
Day after, standing in front of the heater at home, just couldn’t get warm, something went seriously wrong. I collapsed and ended up spending 12 days in hospital. The Chickenpox got bad and I mean BAD. The consultant said he had never seen such a severe case! Apparently, I never had it as a kid. I also had no idea it could be so serious in adults.
In hospital, they pumped me full of intravenous antibiotics 3 times a day. After a couple of days, the headaches started. I don’t mean a headache, I mean a humdinger that would do serious damage to a great many people. My lass used to come and see me and I was curled up in a little foetal ball on the bed in agony. No painkillers worked, I just had to close my eyes, lay still and wait. Then, the next thing was, I stood up to use the bathroom and promptly fell over. Got up, fell over, got up, fell over, dum de deeee, got up, fell over. It got tiresome, hit the buzzer and talk to the nurse or doc. Something not right her. MRI scan? WTF? that bad huh? Hmm hm says the Doctor man. Brain swelling, not unheard of in viral infections and something called nystagmus or something like that. Makes your eyeballs shake in the sockets, literally, no BS. Lumber Puncture showed signs of the virus in my spinal column, err, not good. More drugs, more rest, more boredom. 12 days on an isolation ward is like a prison sentence to someone like me. I live outdoors. My jobs have all been outdoors, my life has always been about outdoors and here I am, stuck in a hospital bed, bored senseless and feeling like shit.
Anyway.Doc says go home, put ya feet up and rest for a month. OK, I can do that. I can’t walk without falling over, I can’t see straight and I am weaker than a newborn, but no worries, off I go. The month goes by, no change. Back to see Doc. Go home, rest, put ya feet up for another month. OK says me, I can do that. Cant stand up without falling over, can’t see straight, but no worries, off I go. The month goes by, oh damn, this is getting tedious. I didn’t improve, at all. 3yrs later, here I am, still pretty much the same, but learning to cope with it better.
The last 12 months have been the worst. Depression, suicidal at times and mourning the loss of my former life, so says the Head Doc. Physio, loosened me up [I was tighter than a spring after 2 yrs on my fat arse] but no improvement. More tests, more tests, yawn, more tests. Another consultant, and another, and another, still nothing. Thankfully, with the help of a good Head Doc [psychologist] I am learning to recognise symptoms before they get too bad. I am learning to cope with my condition better. I have hope and optimism again. Its been the longest road I have ever walked and am still walking, but, it’s better than it was.
Blogging, poker and poetry have helped enormously. My friends in the poker community are like gold, only more precious. They have seen me through the bad days. I still get em, but can get through them. I still get the headaches, not so frequent, but would knock a lot of men I know off their feet. The comments on some blogs and replies to some poems have made me see that I have a lot that others are not so lucky to have. I have managed to deal with the negativity and replaced it with goals and ambitions again. Progress is painfully slow, but its progress none the less.
I have a loving partner, a good son, a gorgeous granddaughter and on Friday, I go to see about a voluntary job at a local Mining and Engineering Library/Museum. Yes, the 3 yrs have been like hell on earth, but now there’s some hope there. I can’t drive anymore and have had to submit my licence, but I can walk with the aid of sticks. I can play with my little Tinkerbell on the floor and enjoy every single moment of it. I can talk and write, I can swim, I can exercise body and mind. I pay the bills online, do the shopping online, buy presents and cards online and am slowly trying to get back into social circles again. Its hard some days, but I manage.
So for anyone out there who reads this. Please, you may despair now, it might appear that you have no life, yu might think you are better off dead. But if a weakling like me can get through all the crap that life can throw at him, you sure as hell can too. I have finally come Out of the Dark and into the Light.
There is always hope!
Damn, now for those dishes!
If anyone out there needs to vent to me, at me or just call me names, if it eases your pain and suffering, then you go right ahead, I can handle it now and some day, you will as well.