Travelling in Style!

Travelling in style!!

I thought yesterday was thwart with difficulties. Today, I really did it in style! I’d just travelled down to town in Alfie, my new electric powerchair when I started to feel out of kilter. Uh, oh, I’d had this feeling before. I immediately looked over Alfie, only to discover two completely flat rear tyres! Not again … the last time this happened, I was on the end of the longest pier in the world at Southend-on-Sea! It’s 2.16 kilometres! You can read this here – Sunnier Climes – Part 2 – The Pier.

I was sitting outside M&S (Marks & Spencer) – a big chain store, especially in the UK. I needed assistance, so I limped slowly into the entrance to attract a store assistant. I could feel the rims scraping the ground with every limping inch. Ouch. I just managed to get inside the door out of the hot, bright sun. Fortunately, I have a rescue service as part of my lease contract for such occasions; I phoned them to be told they would be with me as soon as they could.

An hour later, still waiting, I was getting cold as I’d only managed to drive as far as the freezer cabinets by the door. I hadn’t thought to bring a jacket on such a beautiful day. A lovely assistant approached me and asked if I’d like a hot drink. She came back with a coffee. She also picked up a vegan sandwich for me. I was hungry by then. As the hours were ticking away, I was getting very cold, so they gave me one of the Stock Controller’s freezer jackets to put around my shoulders till my transport came. The shop staff were wonderful – they couldn’t have been more helpful and friendly. I’ll definitely be making a call to Customer Services tomorrow to give my compliments and to ask for the staff to be personally thanked.

I sat and waited … and waited … and waited. One of the assistants kept popping his head out of the door to see if there were any signs of rescue. Nothing. I phoned the rescue people again, only to be told they were having difficulties finding a vehicle to collect me. More waiting.

After three-and-a-half hours, a man in grey and orange overalls and muddy boots came toward me. This was my knight in shining armour! I was very pleased to see him. He’d come to take my wheelchair home and helped me into a waiting taxi as he wasn’t allowed to carry passengers. Just as I got home, I saw a truck outside with Alfie on the back. It was a 7.5-ton pick-up truck!! Apparently, that’s all they had available. Some neighbours had come out to watch as my knight guided Alfie, looking very sorry for himself, down the ramp. Finally, we were home. What a day. Lucky I’ve got a very good sense of humour. I won’t live this one down for a long time!

I’ll never live it down πŸ˜‚

Decluttering the Clutter – Stage 1

The mountains of clutter in the garage!

I’ve just been so exhausted with all the goings-on this week that I can barely think. You may have noticed that I didn’t post anything on my blog this past week. I’m usually known for my punctuality, but this week, it was impossible. On May the 2nd, I posted a piece entitled Family Moving In. I explained there that my son, Tom, and two young grandchildren, will be moving in with me for, possibly, the long term. It was meant to have happened by now, but as circumstances are, it’s more likely to be in the autumn.

Nevertheless, the junk room must be turned back into a bedroom for my son and young grandson (7). My granddaughter (9) already has her own room (my daughter’s old bedroom) as she’s previously come for sleepovers. There’s so much to do, as you can imagine. In addition, the garage needed to be cleared out so that Tom would have storage space when he moves in. I had a friend, Callie, come over on Monday morning to help with this onerous task. I’d hired a 6-yard skip which is currently sitting on the front lawn, slowly killing the grass!

Bearing in mind that I never go into the garage as I don’t own a car, I was mortified by the sight that greeted us when I opened the garage door. What a mess! Callie put her hands on her hips and rolled her sleeves up to the elbow. She meant business. “Where on Earth do we start?” she exclaimed in horror. I was physically unable to help, so she got stuck in while I gave instructions. She does house clearance as a part-time job, so was an expert on decluttering. Just as well with that lot to go through.

There were items in there that had been in the garage for decades – ancient tins of unusable paint, rusty and broken garden and DIY tools that hadn’t seen the light of day for many years, an old vacuum cleaner that I’m keeping for emergencies, big pieces of cardboard that my new kitchen came packed in about seven years ago, offcuts of chipboard shelves, rolls of old Lino and carpet … I could go on, but we’d be here all day. There were so many things I would have hung on to if it hadn’t been for Callie’s ruthless personality. Just as well as we’d have got nowhere with me in charge. As she worked through the clutter, she threw most of it into the skip. I couldn’t believe how much stuff I’d collected over the years.

After three hours, we decided that we’d done all we could do. We stood back and admired the beautifully tidy garage that I could now call my own.

Almost there

And this, ladies and gentlemen, was what the skip looked like when we’d finished!

In the last couple of days, I’ve had the decorator in to strip out the junk room. It’s been chaos here. It’s also meant having to get up very early every morning (I’m not usually an early bird, so I’m tired out). Once he’s finished, the carpet has got to go down. Then, it’ll be getting new furniture and beds. That’s a whole other story – I’ll be writing about those adventures in my next post.

Now, I need someone to come and make me a lovely hot cuppa and settle me down with a box of chocolates and a new head.

Best Foot Forward …

The only photo of me in the flesh that you’re likely to ever see! I’m shy.
Make the most of it – it’s not likely to happen again πŸ˜‰!

I thought I’d give you a little background information about my disability. It’s not something I’ve previously spoken about much in my blog, so this is my story.

I started life as an able-bodied little girl who did all the usual activities that young children do. I was always small, skinny and underweight, but there were advantages to being as I was. I could shin up the gym apparatus faster than many children in my class. Considering I was sometimes thought of as a weed, I did pretty well. I grew up, married, had my two children, Tom and Clare, and then my ex left. I continued to raise the children alone and also had to work to bring some money in for us to live on. It was a tough time, but I was very content. Between school runs, the children’s football matches and netball, I was a carer and home help for ten years (I’d initially trained as a secretary and worked in the City of London for several years). I combined my work which I loved, with caring for Tom and Clare; we were a very happy little family.

When the children were about thirteen and eleven, I saved enough to take them to the funfair in town (Essex in the UK). It was there that I had my accident which was to change the course of my life.
When our carriage crashed, I felt a tremendous jolt that jarred my neck and spine. Eventually, after a lengthy spell in hospital (with my children staying with my Mum) and with many tests, x-rays, scans and examinations, the doctors decided I’d damaged the nerve endings leading from my spine. They said it was permanent. It was an awful lot to come to terms with, but over time, I grew, not so much to accept it but more to live my life despite it. I wasn’t about to give in easily. The pain was awful, though, and I was on morphine for quite a while. It wasn’t all bad – I was away with the fairies much of the time πŸ˜„!

Fast forward twenty years. It was recommended that I have a DEXA Scan as osteoporosis was suspected, given that I’d always been small-boned, had experienced a few years previously with anorexia, and being unable to exercise very often. When I got my results, I was unsure who was more shocked, the radiographer or me. My T-scores were appallingly low. A score of -2.5 indicates osteoporosis, but mine was -4.5, which meant I had severe osteoporosis.

Degrees of osteoporosis
Mine is severe, meaning there is more air space (in brown) and very little solid bone (shown in beige). It’s a wonder I haven’t entirely disintegrated!!

I was told I could die if I fractured my hip or be left even more disabled if I injured my spine. I have to admit I was scared – very scared. Every move I made seemed risky, and I lived in fear for a while. I became super-careful with everything I did, but two years ago, I tripped over Peanut (my new cat) while transferring from my wheelchair to my walking frame. There I was being rushed off to Accident & Emergency for the second time. I was in agony. I’ve never felt pain like it. After all the x-rays and scans came back, the doctors announced that I’d broken my pelvis, not once, not twice, but in six different places. I don’t do things by halves. If I’m going to have an accident, I’ve got to do it in style!

Strangely enough, contrary to what most people would think, I don’t have any regrets; I’m not angry or bitter or in the least bit dissatisfied with my life. I am who I am. Without the experiences I’ve been through, I wouldn’t be me. I wouldn’t be Ellie.

My next post (Part Two) will be about my journey back to good health and where I intend to go from here on in.

Okay … these aren’t my legs, but just an indication of where I go next on my journey. Look out for part two.