Driving down the alleyway, buildings either side looking out for strangers as there was nowhere to hide The sky was dusky pink as the sun began to set I should have gone the long way; now, full of regret.
I travelled further onward while I looked in all directions What a fool am I to set out without protection I reached into my pocket and grasped at my alarm At least I had a halfway chance of avoiding any harm
Looking up skywards, I could see the crescent moon Trying to be brave, I whistled out my loudest tune Shadows of my wheelchair from the strobing streetlight The bulb’s on the blink, don’t fail now; I cannot fight
Suddenly, a sound could be heard from up ahead Imagination at its worst, fearing I could soon be dead Should I turn and speed away back the way I came? My life could be in danger, with just myself to blame
My forehead was sweating; my heart banging like a drum Glancing up into the sky and hoping help would come It was my own stupid fault; I should have gone the other way I pictured my early death; what would the neighbours say?
As the shadow of the person was getting very near I was absolutely terrified and wished I wasn’t here He approached me with a beer can, knocking back the drink My mind in total panic mode, not knowing what to think
As he staggered towards me; my head was in a spin A waft of marijuana and, on his breath, the smell of gin His words left me surprised; “I’ve not come for a fight.” I’ve locked myself out, missus. Have you got a light?
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 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 😄!
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.
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 – you’ve guessed it! That’s not me in the above photo! Surprised? I didn’t think you would be. It’s just that it was difficult finding an image of a wheelchair in motion. You mean to say I had you fooled for a moment 😁? No? I’ll retract that then!
It’s now only three days since I got home from being in hospital. I’m still absolutely exhausted and rather sore (only to be expected). What I want to say is that I’m running as fast as I can to catch up with all (or at least some) of your posts that I’ve missed while I was away from home. I’m not succeeding very well so far. My concentration is shot to pieces, and I currently have the attention span of a gnat. Nevertheless, I remain optimistic and know this is only a temporary blip. I’ll soon be back on form and communicating with everyone a bit more efficiently. Don’t expect miracles too soon, though.
So, that’s where I’m at right now. Please, bear with me a little longer till I get my oomph back. I’m managing to read one of two of your posts but can’t get my brain enough in gear to comment. I feel like I’ve got a head full of rice pudding. Don’t ask me to expand on that thought further.
In the meantime, thank you all for your kind comments and for caring about me. I do love my WordPress family. Have a great rest of the day (unless it’s the middle of the night where you are). Love to you all. Ellie xx 💖🥰💞